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Trust vote: Watch out for a nail biting finish!

July 20, 2008 20:20 IST

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As the Manmohan Singh [Images] government seeks a trust vote on July 22, the political drama in the run up to the two-day special session of Parliament has all the trappings of a nail-biting finish witnessed in April 1999 when the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government lost by a single vote.

With number crunching and political pundits indicating a precariously-placed United Progressive Alliance taking on an equally-uncertain opposition, it is now anybody's guess what would be the fate of the government on the D-day.

The pulls and pressures of the ruling coalition and the opposition to woo every available single vote for their respective side will be played out till the ballot is cast on the floor of the Parliament on Tuesday.

The UPA would only have to keep its fingers crossed, even as it prays that there would be no parliamentarian like Giridhar Gamang or Saifuddin Soz to pull down this government.

Gamang was chief minister of Orissa, but had not yet resigned his Lok Sabha seat and cast his vote that hit the last nail in the Vajpayee government's coffin.

The Vajpayee government that had come to power in 1998 was in crisis when All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Jayalalithaa withdrew her support on certain issues. However, Vajpayee was successful in quickly obtaining the support of her bete noire M Karunanidhi's Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam.

But that assistance from Karunanidhi did not prove enough for Vajpayee. His government lost the trust vote by 269 to 270. Soz, now a minister at the Centre, was then a member of the National Conference and had defied his party's whip and voted against the government.

Today, both the ruling UPA and opposition National Democratic Alliance are doing some tight rope walking and attempting to garner the support of the fence-sitters.

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