The United Progressive Alliance's tally in the new Lok Sabha jumped by 53 on Tuesday, to reach 314, far above the majority mark in the 545-member Lok Sabha, as it received unexpected bonus in the form of support from the Bahujan Samaj Party as also from Samajwadi Party besides some other groups and independents.
The BSP and Samajwadi Party, the two bitter rivals in Uttar Pradesh which fought elections against Congress in Uttar Pradesh, pledged their support saying that they want to strengthen secular forces and to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party out. The SP has 23 and BSP 21 members in the House in which the UPA coalition has secured 261 seats on its own.
Besides these two parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal with four MPs and Janata Dal-Secular with three MPs also conveyed their support to Congress-led UPA. The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik, whose lone member Babulal Marandi, a former BJP leader, was elected also extended its support to UPA. Ghulam Hassan Khan, who won the elections from Ladakh as an Independent, too pledged his support.
First, BSP supremo Mayawati announced her party's support at the start of a meeting with her party leaders, saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressed her as "younger sister" and urged her to adopt a positive attitude towards formation of UPA government to strengthen secular forces. Mayawati said BSP's National Executive and Parliamentary Board, which met this morning, took the decision on giving unconditional support to the government from the outside. Hours after the announcement, BSP's general secretary and Mayawati's close associate S C Mishra met President Pratibha Patil with the letter of party's support to UPA.
While Mayawati was announcing her support, SP general secretary Amar Singh met the President and handed over a
letter of support for the UPA.
The SP had rescued the Congress-led 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. The SP contested the elections as part of the Fourth Front in alliance with RJD and LJP.
"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. Amar Singh claimed that SP's support had been sought by the Prime Minister. He, however, refused to specify whether it would be issue-based or unconditional support.
The SP chief 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.
In the evening, RJD, with four MPs in the new Lok Sabha, also gave a letter of support to the President. JD-S leader H D Kumaraswamy, whose party has three MPs, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to convey his party's support to the UPA. The JD-S was part of Third Front but Kumaraswamy had indicated moves to associate with UPA when he met Sonia Gandhi last week.
Jharkhand Vikas Morcha leader and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, who is the lone MP from the party, also met Gandhi to convey his support. Ghulam Hassan Khan, who has won as an Independent from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, also conveyed his support to the UPA.