New Delhi, Jul 18: Just three days ahead of the crucial trust vote in the Lok Sabha, the beleaguered ruling Congress suffered a setback on Friday, July 18 when its MP from Karnal Arvind Sharma came out openly against the UPA stand on the nuclear deal and its alliance with the Samajwadi party, and gave strong indications of his intention to join the BSP.
Meanwhile, the BSP, which is in the camp opposed to the nuclear deal, today received another shot in the arm when SP MP Munawwar Hussain, talking to reporters shortly after Dr Sharma's press conference, formally declared his decision to join the party after the trust vote in which he would vote against the UPA government.
Earlier, Dr Sharma said he was pained by the attitude of the Congress over the whole issue and how it had flouted all norms of political ethics, which is in stark contrast to the policies and programmes of BSP chief Mayawati.
He wondered ''how could Congress leaders join hands with those who were so repugnant to it not very long ago.'' ''Ms Mayawati is doing a great job by trying to unite the sarva samaj. It was unfortunate that the SP leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh were conspiring against her in collusion with the Congress,'' he said.
Though he refused to declare whether he was quitting the Congress and joining the BSP saying, ''I am not talking about that at the moment,'' Dr Sharma gave ample hint of his future affiliations.
He also said he would decide on his stand only on July 22, when the confidence motion comes for a vote in the Lok Sabha.
The rebel Congress MP accused the SP and the Congress of trying to misuse the CBI to harass Ms Mayawati.
He lamented the ''way the CBI had filed an affidavit'' in the Supreme Court seeking permission to prosecute Ms Mayawati in a disproportionate assets case. ''The timing suggests that it was politically motivated,'' he added.
Recently, Congress MP from Bhiwani Kuldeep Bishnoi had also said he would vote against the UPA coalition in the Lok Sabha. ''I have been raising voice against the Congress-led UPA's anti-people policies. I don't want to commit political suicide and, therefore, there is no question of my voting in their favour,'' Bishnoi, younger son of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal had said.
Shortly after Dr Sharma's declaration of revolt against the Congress and strong leaning toward the BSP, dissident Samajwadi Party MP Munawwar Hussain formally declared that he would vote against the UPA Government on the trust motion in the Lok Sabha on July 22 and would join the Bahujan Samaj Party after that.
He alleged that ''some people from the government'' had come to him to offer Rs 25 crore for his support, but he rejected the offer.
Describing the Indo-US nuclear deal against Muslims, he said he had great respect for BSP chief Mayawati for opposing the deal, and had made up his mind to join hands with her.
The deal was pro-America, and Muslims of not only India but of the whole world were against that country for its policies and actions, he said.
When asked whether he was quitting the SP and being inducted in the BSP, the MP from Muzaffarnagar said,'' I will violate the party whip during the voting on the trust motion, and then will be expelled from the party. I'll join the BSP after that.
He claimed that about half a dozen SP MPs were against the nuclear deal and would vote against the UPA.
Mr Hasan is among the 39 MPs the SP technically has in the Lok Sabha.
The SP is the arch rival of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh which sends the highest number of 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha.