TDP voted for BJP, fearing tie in House
Two members abstained as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government
proved its majority in the twelfth Lok Sabha -- as directed by the President --
on Saturday night.
With this the BJP-led coalition passed its second test of strength
in the past week -- with the Telugu Desam Party finally voting for
The government won the vote of confidence by 274 to 261 votes with
2 abstensions out of the 537 members present. In the 541-member House, including two nominated members and the Speaker, 537 MPs participated in the voting.
Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy, who belonged to the AIADMK combine, was present in the House throughout the day, but did not vote.
National Conference MPs -- Saifuddin Soz and Omar Farooq, son of
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah -- abstained.
BJP MP Rajmata Vijaya Raje Scindia, who is unwell, and the Akali Dal
member from Taran Tarn, Prem Singh Lalpura have not taken the oath of affirmation and were absent from the House.
The suspense over the TDP's attitude ended this afternoon when its parliamentary party leader Yerran Naidu announced that his party would support the government. The TDP has 12 members. With G M C Balayogi's election as Speaker, the party had 11 members in the House.
The TDP voted in favour of the confidence motion to defeat Congress attempts to form the government at the Centre, Yerran Naidu told newsmen after the vote.The former Cabinet minister in the United Front government said TDP supremo
N Chandrababu Naidu had authorised him to decide on the issue of voting in favour of the motion.
Yerran Naidu said when the TDP noticed that there were possibility of a tie,
if the National Conference voted against the motion, he decided to
vote in favour of the Vajpayee government.
The prime minister exuded confidence that his government would get the support of many more MPs in the coming days on the basis of the performance of the ruling combine. Asked whether he was confident of completing a five year
term, Vajpayee smiled away the question, quipping "it is up to you to draw
He thanked all his allies, especially Andhra Pradesh
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and his TDP MPs, but
said no decision had been taken so far about the TDP joining the BJP-led
Vajpayee also thanked the National Conference and its leader Farooq Abdullah for the ''stand they took'' during the division on the confidence motion.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ram
Naik said the victory was a ''new year'' gift for the Vajpayee
government. ''Coincidentally, today happens to be the sthapana divas
(founding day) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh,'' he pointed out.
A lively two-day debate featuring 39 MPs, including the prime minister and many other eminent parliamentarians, preceded the vote.
Twenty speakers took the floor on Friday while 19 MPs -- including former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, former Speaker
Purno A Sangma, former Kerala governor P Shiv Shankar, former UF ministers T R Baalu, Indrajit Gupta and S Jaipal Reddy, former home minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, former Bihar chief minister Laloo Prasad Yadav (against the
government) and Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, Ramakrishna Hegde, Yerran Naidu and Naveen Patnaik (for the motion) -- spoke on Saturday.
"The wholesale defection of TDP members, premature nomination of two Anglo Indian members and abstention by National Conference MPs provided the majority for the Vajpayee government," United Front spokesperson S Jaipal Reddy said after the confidence vote was taken. Leader of the Opposition Sharad Pawar said the government had won a majority through defections and manipulation.
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