SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said Ed Miliband "can't deny reality" and will have to be prepared "to talk and to compromise" with the SNP if Labour falls short of a parliamentary majority.
After a week when the Tories hammered home the dangers to England of an SNP-Labour deal Ed Miliband gave the clearest indication yet that he will not seek any coalition, deal or pacts with the SNP on the Andrew Marr programme on Sunday.
Miliband appears to be in agreement with Labour veteran Roy Hattersley who said he should dare the SNP to bring down a Labour minority government and, therefore, be responsible for another election and possibly five more years of Conservative-led government.
Speaking on the Today programme, Sturgeon outlined how her party might exercise its influence in the House of Commons and over a minority Labour government after the election:
Exercising influence in a parliament is not just about the Queen’s speech. It is about how you exercise influence on an issue by issue, vote by vote basis through the entirety of a parliament.
She clarified that any talks involving the SNP after the General Election would be led by her and not by Alex Salmond. Sturgeon also sought to head off the charge that the SNP was only concerned with the interests of Scotland saying her party was extending "the hand of friendship" to the rest of the UK.
With the polls still locked in a dead heat with no sign that the Conservatives or Labour are about to break away, Ed Miliband would only be able to pass a Labour Queen's speech with the votes of SNP MPs.
Sturgeon who is riding high in the polls north of the border could win as many as 50 MPs come election night. She has consistently vowed to prevent a Tory government by working with other progressive parties including Labour.