Bibek Debroy 9 July 2008
With the Left [the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Communist Party of
India, the Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party] planning to meet President
Pratibha Devisingh Patil on 9 July 2008 and submit a letter withdrawing support from the
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, the overall numbers game seems simple.
There are two vacancies and the Lok Sabha now has 543 members. A simple majority
requires 272 members. The UPA (the Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Dravida
Munnettra Kazhagam, the Nationalist Congress Party, Pattali Makkal Katchi, Jharkhand
Mukti Morcha, Lok Janshakti Party, Kerala Congress, the Muslim League, Republican Party
of India, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Peoples Democratic Party, Sikkim
Democratic Front and three Independents) has 231 seats (the Congress Party has 153 seats).
With the Left’s 59 Members of Parliament having quit, the UPA has lost its majority.
However, to all intents and purposes, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has provided support to the
UPA through its 39 members, leaving UPA with only two members short of a majority. But it
isn’t that simple. There is dissidence within the SP too, and at least seven (if not 10) of its
Members of Parliament may not end up supporting the government. Indeed, there are
question marks about support from some of the UPA constituents too. Though these are
political parties with single-digit Members of Parliament (one or two), even one Member of
Parliament matters. Therefore, the Congress Party cannot be sure about the numbers yet and
will try to get support from other political parties like Rashtriya Lok Dal (Ajit Singh), Janata
Dal Secular (Deve Gowda), Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Trinamool Congress, National
Conference, Shiromani Akali Dal and Independents.