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President Patil skips meetings to watch trust vote debate

July 21, 2008 15:29 IST
Last Updated: July 21, 2008 19:31 IST

The excitement of a trust vote debate in the Lok Sabha on Monday saw President Pratibha Patil [Images] glued to a television set, watching the tense proceedings after skipping all internal briefings.

The constitutional authority, who will assume centrestage in the event of a threat to the United Progressive Alliance government, watched the Lok Sabha proceedings telecast by Doordarshan from 11 am, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] tabled the confidence motion before a jam-packed House.

After a brief round of already scheduled meetings, Patil, 73, went to her family quarters and resumed watching the proceedings.

The meetings with Chattisgarh Governor E S L Narasimhan, former governor M M Jacob, Power Secretary Anil Razdan and Magasaysay award winner Rajendra Singh were all cut short.

Later, all internal meetings scheduled with Rashtrapati Bhavan [Images] officials were postponed to enable the President to keep track of the lively proceedings.

The President, after receiving the withdrawal of support letter from the four Left parties � the Communist Party of India � Marxist, the Communist Party of India, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Forward Bloc � had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who expressed his willingness to face a floor test.

When PM ignored Karat

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday praised veteran Marxists Jyoti Basu and Harkishan Singh Surjeet for their 'sagacity and leadership' that helped set up his coalition government while making no reference to the current Communist Party of India - Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat, who has been at odds with him over the India-United States nuclear agreement.

In a brief speech while moving the motion of confidence in his Council of Ministers in the Lok Sabha, Singh recalled the contributions of Basu and Surjeet and hailed them as 'architects of our coalition government'.

The Prime Minister said, "If we are here after a tenure of four years, the credit for this should go to all the leaders of the United Progressive Alliance, to the leadership of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi [Images], to the wise and visionary leadership of Jyoti Basu, Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Dr Karunanidhi."

"They were all the architects of our coalition government. It is their wisdom and sagacity that has helped me and our government function for these four years," he added.

Given the bitterness that has marked relations between the UPA and the Left in the recent weeks, the import of the fact that the prime minister did not mention Karat's name was not lost.

Singh's remarks were seen as a veiled dig at the Left parties, which withdrew support to his government over the nuclear deal.

                                                               Also Read: An Alliance in Crisis

Chavan will be present for trust vote: BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party's central leadership has asked its Member of Parliament from Malegaon Harishchandra Chavan to be present in Delhi for Tuesday's trust vote, despite being bedridden with fracture injuries in a hospital in Nashik.

"If the doctor and my family members permits me, I will go to Delhi via Mumbai," Chavan told PTI.

Chavan's family members are demanding a special flight from Nasik to New Delhi as he is suffering from multiple fractures on his right thigh along with high blood pressure and diabetes.

Dr Prashant Patil, attending surgeon on Chavan, is apprehensive about his visit to the national capital.

"We have formed a panel of orthopaedic doctors to study Chavan's injury. But allowing him to move from the hospital is risky... if the visit aggravates his injuries, he will require another surgery," Patil said.

Chavan suffered fracture injuries in a car accident a month ago.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader N M Avhad said that Chavan might be allowed to cast his vote through video conferencing.

                                                          Join the rediff Trust Vote discussion

BJP leaders await doctor's nod to airlift ailing MP to Delhi

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are awaiting the green signal from doctors at a Mumbai hospital to airlift party MP Mahesh Kanodia to Delhi for Tuesday's trust vote in Lok Sabha. 

Kanodia, MP from Patan, Gujarat, underwent open-heart surgery at the Asian Heart Institute on July 14 and another one today to remove water from his lungs.

"Kanodia is under observation after the surgery and if doctors permit him to be flown to Delhi, we have made all arrangements," said BJP Member of Legislative Council Vinod Tawade.

BJP leaders are hoping that the doctors would permit him to be flown to Delhi, he said.

"We are waiting for the medical reports. If the doctors allow us to fly him to Delhi, he will surely go," Kanodia's brother said.

BSP, SP members clash during debate

A fracas broke out in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the trust vote on Monday as a Samajwadi Party member tried to force Ilyas Azmi of the Bahujan Samaj Party to sit down, forcing the adjournment of the House for 15 minutes.

The problem started when SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav, who was speaking on the motion, commented that the Left and other parties were dislodging the government to "serve the ego of one person".

This was taken by the BSP members as a comment against their leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, leading Azmi to stand up and make a noisy protest.

Some SP members, seated behind Azmi, shouted back and one of them raised his hands to try to force him to take his seat.

This provoked other BSP members, including Akbar Ahmed Dumpy, to rush to the aid of Azmi. The MPs then trooped into the well of the House to protest the behaviour of the SP members. They also alleged that the SP members were trying to hit Azmi.

In a bid to restore order, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee adjourned the House for 15 minutes.

Chandrababu Naidu [Images], Ajit Singh meet Karat

Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu and Rashtriya Lok Dal supremo Ajit Singh on Monday met Communist Party of India - Marxist General Secretary Prakash Karat and took stock of the latest political situation.

Naidu and Singh met the top CPI-M leader at his party headquarters in New Delhi and reportedly discussed the emerging political equations.

The TDP chief claimed that the government was indulging in large-scale horse-trading.

"I have told Karat that the government is indulging in large-scale horse-trading. But our numbers are intact," said Naidu.

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