AMONG President John FKennedy’s more famous exhortations was calling on Americans to “pay any price and bear any burden, support any friend, oppose any foe,” for the cause of liberty. The UPA leadership seems to be heeding his advice and appears ready to pay any price and bear any burden. The cause once again is liberty, but with a twist. Liberty from the Left. Iam talking about the latest flirtation between the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, which if it materialises will enable the Congress to rid itself of the baggage that is the Left. The question is: Can Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh come up with the kind of offer that Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh will find hard to refuse? For them, it's atough choice. If they do join, they have just awee bit to gain in the remaining tenure of this government, but much to lose. The SP is sure to be dumped by the UNPA, the backlash from the Muslim community, the SP’s core support group, could be catastrophic. The Congress offer has to be something that more than compensates for these losses. Will Manmohan, for example, be ready to give four or five Cabinet berths and afew junior ministers jobs to the SP, which with its 36 MPs, will become the second largest constituent in the UPA, if it chooses to join it? But Manmohan Singh is faced with arather ticklish problem. He is already presiding over the largest ever Council of Ministers with 74 members which is just about within the prescribed 15 per cent limit. His options are limited: He can either drop ministers from his party, which is relatively easy or ask smaller allies to vacate seats, which is alot more difficult. To save one deal, Manmohan Singh is weaving many smaller yet complex deals.