Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on Tuesday announced his decision to formally withdraw support to the government, protesting against the adoption of the Women's Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh, who too had threatened to do so, however, was evasive on the issue. When journalists persisted with their questions, he said he would inform the media when he took a decision in this regard.
Mr. Prasad said he would call on President Pratibha Patil and submit his letter to her on Wednesday.
The RJD has four members in the Lok Sabha and had extended outside support to the UPA government.
Reacting to the suspension of seven members in the Rajya Sabha and the adoption of the Bill, the RJD chief and his SP counterpart charged that those evicted included four Muslim MPs.
The RJD and the SP chief, along with JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, told journalists that they met the Prime Minister earlier in the day but did not accept his suggestion that they allow the passage of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha and that their concerns would be addressed when the Bill is taken up for consideration in the Lok Sabha.
They charged that the Bill was taken up for discussion all of a sudden even without taking the allies into confidence. They alleged that democracy was being stifled, with the Rajya Sabha being turned into a fortress and paramilitary personnel posted as marshals.
The leaders said several Muslim delegations called on them, expressing their concern over the Bill as it denied them their due.
These leaders held a series of talks with Railway Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, who too had underlined her opposition to the Bill.
Mr. Sharad Yadav is said to have mooted the idea of sponsoring a no-confidence motion against the government and reportedly Mr. Prasad and Mr. Singh seemed to agree with him on the issue.
But the fact remains that the split in the JD(U) over the issue came to the fore, with five members voting in favour of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, and Mr. Yadav and his supporters openly opposing it in the Lok Sabha.