New Delhi: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who withdrew support from the UPA after FDI in retail was cleared last month, is on the warpath again. She has been pushing for a no trust motion and appealing to other UPA constituents to quit the alliance. The DMK has refused while the Samajwadi Party is buying time, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said that it will back TMC's campaign.
This came after UPA came up more reforms on Thursday as the Cabinet cleared the introduction of foreign direct investment (FDI) in pension and increase in the FDI cap in insurance. The Cabinet also cleared the Companies Bill.
Within hours of UPA announcing the second phase of its big bold reforms, Mamata Banerjee made her intentions clear that she wants early elections and to force that, she is willing to co-ordinate with other non-UPA parties. Mamata posted on Facebook, "Is it the UPA's intention to sell out the country? We should unitedly oppose this. Minority government cannot play such immoral role. Let's move a No Confidence Motion. I will also appeal to those supporting UPA to come out and oppose these moves."
Even TMC MPs, now in the Opposition, took a strident line as they sought a change in sitting arrangements in Parliament to take on the government. "Political parties even though supporting the government will find it difficult to support this move in Parliament," TMC leader Saugata Roy said.
While Mamata may want to link survival of this government to reforms, for other parties, the situation is not that simple. A glance at the Lok Sabha arithematic makes it clear that even if one of the two - the SP and the BSP - remains with the government, the UPA survives the confidence vote.
So while support for Mamata Banerjee on a resolution against FDI, it does not necessarily translate into support on a trust motion, especially with parties like the BSP, the DMK and to an extent the Left, not wanting early elections. As for the principal opposition party, the BJP, a lot would depend on how things shape up politically from here onwards. But it seems open to discussions with the government on both the insurence and pension bill, knowing fully well that the Congress is again targetting its core constituency, the middle class, through these moves. "Pension is the hard earned money of the people, of the working people, this must be protected, there must be a sovereign guarantee," BJP leader Prakash Javadekar said.
As Gujarat and Himanchal Pradesh elections will keep the BJP occupied for most of the winter session, the timing of the move seems critical. A lot within the main opposition party, even its internal politics will depend on the outcome of the elections in Gujarat on December 20. The Congress is hoping to derive maximum mileage from no certainty within the opposition ranks.