As the time to present the budget draws nearer, the federal government, already unsure about its ability to get it passed with the rather tenuous majority in the National Assembly, is going all-out to woo the various political parties having representation in the Lower House to become part of the ruling coalition. It wants to get out of the uneasy feeling that the MQM, though pledging to continue its support to the PPP-led government, might not be willing to go along with certain harsh provisions that the budget would inevitably contain. For instance, the inclusion of provisions like RGST has become the governments compulsion because they are the IMFs conditionalities for the financial assistance to keep filtering in. And the depressing economic scenario, as it is, would, most likely, become more frustrating without the promised periodic doses of money. The MQMs decision to stay out of the cabinet leaves open the possibility that it might not endorse such provisions, thus scuttling the passage of the Finance Bill and causing the fall of the government. The corruption-laden ruling political set-up is facing a tough challenge to bring in its fold opposition parties with enough strength to make it feel comfortable at the budget session, though some of these parties have their own reasons for currying governments favour. The PML-Q, with 51 members in the NA, which is the focus of its attention, faces a veritable dilemma. Its top leadership would do everything it can to spare Moonis Elahi any harm that the court case against him might bring, even, perhaps, setting aside its five-point agenda, which the government would find it hard to put into effect. On the other hand, a sizeable group in the party is reportedly not willing to join the 'sinking ship that might anytime go under on account of its well established reputation for misdeeds: widespread practice of graft, rank bad governance, open acts of nepotism and favouritism and pervasive sense of insecurity in the country. With the Unification Block already having split the party, it cannot bear the shock of another division that in any case would reduce its attraction for the PPP. But for the PPP gaining support is indispensable for survival. Its envoys are fanning out to do the cajoling to exploit all possibilities. The MQM and the JUI-F, both once part of the coalition but now estranged, have been approached. There is no prospect of PML-N getting roped in. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan cried foul and termed the so-called reconciliation attempts as another NRO at the NA session on Wednesday, as PML-N legislators present in the House raised anti-Zardari and anti-drone slogans. While the public stands bewildered at these political manoeuvrings, which disregard certain principles held dear and openly advocated by some parties, the trying time the government is passing through should prompt it to reflect. Had it lived up to its mandate, served the people well and preserved the national interest, it would have had no doubt about its survival now.