Party will not ask UPA to prove majority till it gets its arithmetic right

The BJP will wait and watch how the political situation unfolds in the next 72 hours before deciding on its future strategy.

Since the party is not in a position to define the course of events, given the political arithmetic in the Lok Sabha, its action would depend on the developments in parties which are part of the UPA and those extending outside support. Its leaders are of the view that the UPA government could be in trouble only if the Samajwadi Party decides to rock the boat after the Trinamool Congress withdrew support on Tuesday.

A senior party leader said the Congress is adept at mustering numbers, and as things stand there is no danger to the Manmohan Singh government. “As we have been repeatedly saying the most dependable ally of the Congress is the CBI. Some of the leaders of the SP and BSP against whom cases are pending are vulnerable to pressure from the government.”

The BJP’s dilemma in saying anything definite on the situation was evident when it tied itself in knots on the supposed ‘special session of Parliament.’ The confusion arose after a reported statement by senior BJP leader L.K. Advani that his party would ask for a special session on FDI, which was interpreted by sections of the electronic media as a demand by the party for a special session to test the Government’s strength.

As a result, party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar was at pains to emphasise that the demand for the special session was in the context of the Centre’s decision to operationalise FDI in multi-brand retail. Mr. Javadekar said that Mr. Advani wanted the special session to discuss how the government can go ahead with the FDI measure, when the Prime Minister had given an assurance to Parliament that nothing would be done without consulting Chief Ministers and other stakeholders. “We in the NDA will decide on whether to demand a special session of Parliament ... We will decide at the NDA meeting after Thursday’s nationwide bandh,” he said.

In private, BJP leaders said the party did not intend asking the government to seek a majority vote in the Lok Sabha unless it was absolutely certain that the numbers are stacked up against the UPA. “Why should we give an opportunity to the government to prove its majority and claim it as an endorsement of all the recent unpopular decisions? That would be a self-goal,” a leader said.

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