By Dilip Awasthi
BSP chief Mayawati does not seem to believe in springing surprises in politics. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati's decision to withdraw support to the UPA government on June 21, 2008 hardly had any shock-value.
The decision surely has come in difficult times for the Congress-led UPA government which is already facing the wrath of the people for its failure to check soaring prices and inflation. Mayawati's withdrawal of support means that the central government will be poorer by 19 members in the Lok Sabha. This would hardly threaten the government in any way apart from the political message which the withdrawal would send.
The Congress in any case had been working on its contingency plans ever since January 7, 2008 when CM Mayawati announced in a media conference in New Delhi that her party is contemplating withdrawal of support to the UPA government. Both Congress president and Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh had been angling for some kind of working relationship with the Samajwadi Party (SP) which has 35 members in the Lok Sabha.
The question whether SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav will come closer to the UPA government and to what extent will be answered shortly but it would be interesting to examine the political consequences of BSP's withdrawal of support. First of all in no case the two parties would have gone hand-in-hand for the next Lok Sabha elections. Both Congress and the BSP are heavily dependent on the dalit votes - Congress in most of the state and the BSP mainly in Uttar Pradesh.
The BSP is vying for a national status now and would like to carve in a support base in other states also. According to BSP insiders, chief minister Mayawati strongly believes that she can emerge as a compromise prime ministerial candidate if her party can win around 50 Lok Sabha seats in the next outing. Going by her strength in Uttar Pradesh, she can expect bagging 30-35 seats in her home state. Sharing its vote bank with Congress as it is would be disastrous.
In her letter to the President of India with copies marked to UPA chiarperson Sonia Gandhi, Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chaterjee and vice-president Mohd. Hamid Ansari, Mayawati has claimed people's, specially for the poor and downtrodden, woes following price-rise and inflation as the main reason for BSP's withdrawal of support. But then in her four-paged note, Mayawati criticises the Congress for not bailing her out in the "fictitious Taj corridor" case.
She recalls that this very case was the reason why she severed the alliance with BJP on August 29, 2003 and resigned as UP's chief minister. According to her the BJP had asked her party to leave 60 out of the total 80 Lok Sabha seats and contest for merely 20 seats in 2004 Lok Sabha elections. She refused point-blank. She claims that BJP vindictively started "falsely implicating me" in the Taj corridor case. "In national interest I ended the alliance with BJP. The Congress promised to ensure justice for me in the same case but as I can see it, the party has deliberately has kept the issue pending for the last four years. Both these parties in no case are liking BSP's increasing mass base in the country", she claims.
The reasons obviously are political and Mayawati is not camouflaging this. Now is the Congress's turn to react. The reaction could well be expediting the CBI investigation in the Taj case and Mayawati's assets case.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Mayawati's withdrawal of support to UPA
By Dilip Awasthi