Mayawati meets PM over lunch, says donít link it to House session
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After reaching out to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday had a luncheon meeting with BSP supremo Mayawati.
The PM's meetings with these leaders are being seen as the UPA's attempts to woo the SP and BSP, which have 22 and 21 MPs, respectively. Both these parties are supporting the government from outside. The numerical strength of the SP and BSP in the Lok Sabha is significant for the UPA's survival during the forthcoming session of Parliament in the wake of TMC's pullout from the government and Mamata Banerjee's indication that her party will bring a resolution against FDI in retail.
However, Mayawati said that she will reveal her stance at an appropriate time. "I have spoken about this in detail at our party rally in Lucknow on October 9. We will take whatever steps necessary keeping in mind what we had said in that rally. Whenever such a situation crops up, ask us this question; why do you want our response in advance?" she said. Playing down the meeting with the PM , she said that it "should not be linked with Parliament session" and was part of a routine process where leaders keep meeting. Her remarks may be comforting for the Congress, as in her rally she did not assert blanket opposition like the opposition parties and the SP, and appeared to be offering a conditional support to the FDI in retail move.
Mayawati has an agenda which she would like to complete before the polls. She had raised the issue of constitutional amendment to provide reservation for SC/STs in promotion in government jobs. The former UP chief minister had forced the Centre to introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha in the last session of Parliament, but it could not be passed due to the BJP's obstruction over the coal block allocation. "The winter session is beginning from November 22. We will raise the issue again. The Bill has been cleared by the Cabinet and it came to the RS when two-three days of the session were left," she said.
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