New Delhi: The UPA on Tuesday received unexpected bonus in the shape of support from both Mayawati’s BSP and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, enabling the coalition to cross the 300-mark in the new Lok Sabha.
The two bitter rivals who fought elections against the Congress in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere have chosen to pledge their support on the ground that they want to strengthen secular forces and to keep the BJP out.
SP has 23 and BSP 20 seats in the 543-member House in which the UPA coalition has secured 261 seats on its own. The total tally will now be 304 without counting parties like 3-member JD(S) and a few independents who were offering their support.
First the BSP chief announced her party’s support at the start of a meeting with her party leaders, saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed her as a “younger sister” and urged her to adopt a positive attitude towards formation of the UPA Government to strengthen secular forces.
She said the party’s National Executive and Parliamentary Board which met this morning took the decision on giving unconditional support to the government from outside.
Mayawati said her party general secretary and confidant Satish Chandra Mishra would handover the letter of BSP’s support to President Pratibha Patil.
As news of BSP support came from Lucknow, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh met the President and handed over a letter of support of the party’s 23 MPs to the UPA government.
SP rescued the Congress-led UPA government last year after the Left parties withdrew support to it on the nuclear deal issue and parted ways with the Congress before the elections.
“I have been authorised and directed by Mulayam Singh Yadav, national president and leader of the Samajwadi Party, to offer our support for the formation of UPA government under the leadership of Manmohan Singh,” Amar Singh said in the letter.
Samajwadi Party contested the elections as part of the Fourth Front in alliance with RJD and LJP.
Yadav had said on Monday in Mainpuri that his party was ready to sit in the opposition, However, Amar Singh told reporters later that SP would support the new government.
Asked whether Congress had sought his party’s support or if SP was giving it on its own, Singh said, “When I and Mulayam Singh had gone to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a couple of days back, he had asked for our support. Yesterday also when the PM called me up, he sought our support.”
JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy said his party will extend support to the Congress for the formation of a “secular” government at the Centre.