Congress president Sonia Gandhi is making a determined effort to fill the vacuum created by the elevation of Pranab Mukherjee as President and appears to be emerging as the chief floor manager of the UPA government in Parliament, a role Pranab had performed with élan.
Sonia Gandhi is spending more time in Parliament, especially in Lok Sabha after realising that the home minister and the new leader of the House, Sushilkumar Shinde needs more time to settle. As a first step towards fitting into this role, she has established a good rapport with the floor leaders.
While Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj has already moved closer to Mrs Gandhi, the JD(U) is not seen as an anti-Congress party like Shiromani Akali Dal, Biju Janata Dal and the Telugu Desam Party because of their state specific compulsions.
The AIADMK has no differences with the Congress but it cannot ally with the latter so long as the DMK is part of the UPA. The Shiv Sena could take a stand on issues independently as was seen in presidential elections held in 2007 and 2012.
The Opposition party in Maharashtra had voted for the Cong-backed presidential nominees Ms Pratibha Patil and Mr Mukherjee.