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UPA wins trust vote
July 22, 2008
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Tuesday won a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha with a comfortable margin belying predictions of a close contest on a day marred by unseemly scenes over allegations of bribery.
The Prime Minister's motion expressing confidence of the House in the Council of Ministers was carried with 275 votes in favour and 256 against.
The results were announced after nearly an hour when officials corrected the initial figures which showed 253 votes in favour of the motion, 232 against and 2 abstentions in a total vote of 487.
In the din caused by BJP members demanding Prime Minister's resignation and shouting down his speech, Singh laid his reply to the debate on the table of the House. As Opposition members pressed for a division, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee ordered voting by electronic voting machine. Even before the final result was announced, ruling alliance members went to the Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi [Images] to greet them on the victory in the confidence motion, the first in over four years of this government.
The Prime Minister sought the confidence of the House after the Left parties, which provided outside support since May 2004, withdrew it on the issue of government operationalising the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal by approaching the IAEA.
The two-day debate on the motion was often acrimonious but it took an entirely different turn after BJP members shocked the House by producing bundles of currency notes alleging bribes by the Samajwadi Party to them to abstain from voting. Four BJP members, including former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, were permitted to vote from the inner lobby of the House through slips on account of their ill-health.
Image: KBK Graphics