In Mulayam gift, some see a horse

In a day of hectic political developments, six Trinamul Congress ministers submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday.

Dr Singh, accepting the resignations, thanked Trinamul ministers for their work and expressed 'sadness' at their departure. The meeting lasted just three minutes.

Dr Singh, who has been seeking his nuclear moment, sent the resignations to President Pranab Mukherjee. The Trinamul MPs later met the President and handed a letter signed by Mukul Roy, its parliamentary party chief, withdrawing support from UPA-2.

Immediately after the TMC’s withdrawal of support, Samajwadi chief Mulayam Singh Yad v pledged to back the government. Mayawati’s BSP is also likely to continue supporting UPA-2. With these two key allies coming to the government’s rescue, UPA-2, now in a minority, is safe on the floor of the Lok Sabha for now.

Despite bailing out the government, however, Yadav continued to keep the government on tenterhooks by opposing FDI in retail and saying a Third Front will be formed in the 2014 elections.

Some Congress leaders feel despite the numbers the government 'cannot be decisive as the degree of stability is now threatened' and a 'snap poll can’t be ruled out'. The coming Winter Session also appears headed for a washout.

The TMC plans to press for a vote on FDI and will charge the government with contempt of Parliament as then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had assured the Lok Sabha on December 7, 2011 that a “decision on multi-brand retail will be implemented only after a political consensus was reached”.

UPA govt has enough numbers

Even as the UPA government has reduced to minority after Trinamul Congress with 19 MPs withdrew its support, threat of its survival is not the moot question, which needs to be discussed now.

After TMC’s pullout, the collective strength of parties within the ruling UPA has come down to 254, which is 18 less than the simple majority, but since SP (22), BSP (21), RJD (4) and JDS (3) have so far not withdrawn their letter pledging outside support given to the President, the Manmohan Singh government continues to have majority support of 304 MPs on the floor of the Lok Sabha.

Reassuring the UPA leadership, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav has already announced that his party would continue to support the government to keep the 'communal forces at bay'.

The UPA in the Lok Sabha now constitute of Congress (206), DMK (18), NCP (9) and others (21). Before TMC’s departure from the government, the effective collective strength of the UPA parties was 273, which was one more than the simple majority of 272 MPs.

Most of the ministers in the Manmohan Singh government, including finance minister P. Chidambaram and NCP chief and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, have rightly claimed that there was no threat to the UPA government as the ruling alliance has the support of more then 300 MPs in the Lok Sabha.

The government managers, therefore, have also maintained that the Opposition’s demand of convening a special session of the Parliament in the wake of Trinamul Congress’ pullout and put the FDI in multi-brand retail decision on vote were unnecessary. They said, “Numbers are with us and also administrative decisions do not require parliamentary nod.”

However, keeping the two UP arch rivals SP and BSP in good humour without any buffer would be a daunting task for the Congress in days to come.

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