Congress waits and watches
The Congress managers looked to be in no hurry on Wednesday to finalise their plan to ensure survival of the government. 'Since there is no immediate threat, where is the need for striking an early deal,' said a senior party leader. Sources said that negotiations were under way with both the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), but there was no early deadline set by them for the government.
The Congress core group met on Wednesday morning to chalk out the action plan. A consensus on implementing a firm strategy was not reached during the meet. But, the Congress strategically split its game-plan by stressing on the bifurcation of the party and government actions. Soon after meeting got over, the Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi announced that all chief ministers of the Congress-led states had been directed to increase the cap on LPG cylinders from six to nine. (The Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had demanded that a cap of 24 cylinders.) The Congress called it a decision taken at the party level.
Sources say that the Congress top brass will try to speak with Banerjee to resolve the issue, but there might be no roll-back on diesel and no change in governments stand on foreign direct investment in retail.
Even though the sources in the Congress claim that they are assured of support from key allies the Nationalist Congress Party and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. While the Bahujan Samaj Party has not offered anything concrete yet, while talks are on. However, a tricky ally to get on board will be the Samajwadi Party, which will announce a final decision after the party's parliamentary panel meets on Thursday.
Despite uncertain zones in the alliance, the government expressed confidence of managing the crisis. The information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni said, 'The government is not in danger. I have not heard anyone saying that. The UPA definitely has the numbers to stay in power.' While the finance minister P Chidambaram said, 'If any of the TMC ministers want to talk to us, we will explain the circumstances that compelled us to take these decisions.'