Pune/Bangalore/New Delhi/Kolkata, July 19 : It seems smaller political parties and Independents might hold the key to the future of the Congress-led UPA Government, as ruling and opposition camps are leaving no stone unturned to garner more support ahead of July 22 trust vote.
With the fate of the government dependent on Tuesday's confidence vote, mudslinging and deal-making are reportedly in full swing and efforts are being made to even sully the relatively clean image of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) believes that the government will survive the vote after securing support of the Samajwadi Party (SP). The vote is essentially between a Congress coalition and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the Communists.
"In democracy, if suppose something happens then one has to face it," Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief told reporters in Pune.
Smaller parties are trying to extract maximum gains as the next parliament elections are anyway scheduled in less than a year from now, regardless of Tuesday's outcome. We are not in the NDA, we are not in the UPA, we are on our own. But UPA on an issue wants to have our support," said Deve Gowda, former Prime Minister and chief of regional Janata Dal (Secular). Smaller groups held parleys to put up a common front and lobby for collective bargain.
President of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), K. Chandrasekhara Rao met Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh in the national capital.
"We had a discussion about the present political situation in New Delhi. Some independents are also in touch with me. We have taken stock of the situation. The final outcome very shortly we will let you know," Rao said.
Meanwhile, the BJP was toiling hard that the ranks of the main opposition NDA atleast do not shrink, if not swell.
"Parkash Singh Badal told me that so long I am alive there is no question of Akali Dal members voting for the Congress. He said all his members will be present on the voting day and they will all vote against the Congress," said BJP's senior leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra.
The Communists meanwhile sprang a surprise, proposing newfound friend Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, as a contender for the post of Primeinister.
"She is as much a claimant. Even more than many of the other people who are claiming to be, dreaming about becoming Prime Minister," said A B Bardhan.
Activists of Socialist Unity Centre of India, a communist wing, took out a protest march in Kolkata.
"We consider this deal absolutely anti-people and pro-imperialist. It has been signed or is going to be signed in the interest of the corporate houses, corporate finance of both USA and India. We strongly believe that this agreement has nothing to do with nuclear power as such for electrification or something like that. It is purely military pact aimed at consolidating the relationship between America, the greatest superpower, with India the junior partner who aspires to be the next superpower in Asia," said Amitava Chatterjee, an activist.
Similar protests also took place in Coimbatore where Muslim protesters took to street shouting anti-government slogans.