New Delhi: The crisis within the UPA seems to be taking new turns each day. With Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav threatening to withdraw support, the government is now looking for new allies. Its best option is JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who has been demanding special status for Bihar. Sources say the government is also willing to give Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee a second chance.
The two leaders appear to be immediate beneficiaries with uncertainty at the Centre. Top government sources indicate to CNN-IBN that the Centre will shortly review backward criteria for states and may meet Bihar's long-standing demand for the special category status, something which the Bihar Chief Minister underscored at his massive rally in Delhi only last week.
Government sources indicate that it has been decided to review and change the criteria of backward states. Bihar, parts of Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand could now be covered under the new parameter.
The government indicated that the existing criteria of backwardness like 'Hilly State' is now obsolete. The new criteria will take socio-economic factors into account.
In addition to all this, the Finance Commission may give relief to debt-ridden states. The Finance Commission award may provide relief for Mamata Banerjee as West Bengal reels under a huge debt.
All these developments come amidst growing bitterness between Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Congress, especially after the DMK withdrew from the UPA and the SP leader taking the cue set out to revive his Third Front agenda. With the UPA approaching the last year of its five-year term, new alignments are at work as political parties posture and position themselves in preparations for the next Lok Sabha polls.
This is how Manmohan Singh's UPA stands currently:
Total - 539
UPA - 232
Half-way mark - 270
Congress - 202
NCP - 9
Others - 21
Outside Support - 49
TMC - 19