Changing numbers is the name of the game

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{image-nuclear adi_15072008.jpg}New Delhi, Jul 15: The national political scene hot up as the countdown for a showdown has begun with the beleaguered UPA Government slated to bring in a motion for the trust vote over the nuclear deal on July 21 at a special two-day session of the Lok Sabha.

The whole nation is keeping fingers crossed over the fate of the UPA Government with rival camps working on a war footing to keep their flocks together and rope in more MPs from other parties.The Manmohan Singh Government plunged into a crisis on July 8 when the Left parties finally carried out their threat to withdraw support over the nuke deal issue. With deals struck and broken constantly, the picture is ever changing. Here is a look at where the numbers stack up as of July 15:

First, the UPA; 263 is the number of certain votes, counting the allies and a united SP. But they are still 9 votes short of the 272 mark.

The initial plan was to garner those 9 votes from the JD(S), the TRS and the the RLD. But in politics, the only constant is change. With the TRS withdrawing, 3 votes have been lost, and within the JD(S) too, one prominent leader has refused to vote, making it 4 votes short

But all hope is not lost for the UPA - 3 single-member parties may emerge in the form of saviours, namely the Indian Union Muslim League, the Sikkim Democratic Front and the National Loktantrik Party are certain to vote with the UPA, taking the deficit to just a single vote. And that is the loophole which is being worked upon right now.

Meanwhile, the number of parties joining the opposing ranks is also growing. The Left wooing Mayawati to side with them has changed the picture. Add to that, the sole member of the Republican Party of India (RPI) with the NDA of course, and one is looking at a 258-seat share. It is not nearly enough, but definitely too close for comfort for the UPA.

The realm of uncertainty begins here. If the Samajwadi Party rebels manage to woo away more members from the assured votes of 36 that the UPA is banking on, then 6 independents could bail the UPA out of a tight spot. They would probably form a ragtag coalition and offer all votes in a platter.

The other parties who could make a difference are the AGP (Assom Gana Parishad), which has 2 votes and no clear partners. Also in this category are the single votes of two other north eastern parties, the Mizo National Front and Nagaland People's front. MIM's Asaduddin Owaisi too, is yet to decide which way to vote making this an undecided 5-vote chunk.

But, the cross voting may also work against the rival camps, with generous offer of election tickets and money as the weapons in possession of the other side too.

According to political observers, the situation is very fluid because the MPs may not hesitate to violate the party whip in view of the fact that the the Lok Sabha may not last beyond a few months even if the UPA government may win the trust vote.

Never before have fringe parties found themselves in the enviable position of wielding so much power for just a few seats!

OneIndia News

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