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Mayawati shadow constrains BJP

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | July 21, 2008 16:29 IST
Last Updated: July 21, 2008 20:13 IST

Leader of the Opposition L K Advani's brief remark during his speech at the start of the keenly watched trust vote debate on Monday was read in political circles as a tacit admission that the government had the numbers to win the vote.

Advani, while ending his speech, said: "Even if the government survives tomorrow (Tuesday), they will have to go to people. And the people will give their verdict."

in his speech, Advani emphasised more on inflation, unequal growth and issues that are normally raised by the Left parties. He also indicated that unlike the Left and United National Progressive Alliance, who are anxious to bring down the government immediately, the Bharatiya Janata Party was prepared to wait.

An alliance in crisis

The BJP's approach has more to do with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's abrupt emergence at the centre-stage of pre-election politics. It seems clear that with Mayawati seizing the initiative and gaining momentum as a prime ministerial candidate, the BJP is not anxious to play into her hands and help in the toppling game for which the party would get little credit.

A senior MP from Tamil Nadu said that politics around the nuclear deal has taken an unexpected turn with Mayawati making an irreversible claim in the prime minister's race.

In the last few days, Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu [Images] and Communist Party of India-Marxist General Secretary Prakash Karat has given her the political spin that she lacked so far. It seems that Karat has been given the mandate by his party's Politburo to look for an enduring partnership with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.

While the key question of which side has the larger numbers will unfold only late on Tuesday, it is clear that there are clear cut dissensions within different parties, which will be revealed during the vote.

Unconfirmed reports say Congress leader Digvijay Singh's brother Laxman Singh, who is a BJP MP, is being pressured to abstain. It is learnt that three Rashtriya Janata Dal MPs had offered to cross over to Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United, but the Bihar chief minister declined the offer since the trio demanded that they be allowed to contest the the same constituency in the next election.

At the start of the debate there was much anticipation whether Speaker Somnath Chatterjee would pay heed to the reported demand from the CPI-M central committee to step down from the office. However, Chatterjee, whose wife, daughter and daughter-in-law watched the debate from the Speaker's gallery, presided over the proceedings and gave no indication that he would follow his party's diktat.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla, CPI-M Politburo member Brinda Karat and many other leaders were also present in the visitors' gallery.

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