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Congress says it has the numbers to defeat no-trust vote

Source: PTI
November 19, 2012 18:45 IST
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Unfazed by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerejee's plans, the Congress on Monday said the government will its prove majority in the Lok Sabha even if a no-confidence motion was brought or any other resolution on FDI in retail issue taken up under a rule entailing voting.

"We are fully confident of our numbers and will prove our majority on the floor of the Lok Sabha whenever any such motion comes. We have more than 272," party spokesperson Sandip Dikshit told reporters.

At the same time, he insisted that the government has no plan to seek a confidence vote on the issue as it had done during the United Progressive Alliance I on the issue of Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008 when the Left parties had withdrawn support to it.

"The situation is now different from that in 2008 when doubts had been raised about the majority of the government as some parties had withdrawn support. This time there is no such situation," he said.

Dikshit said 54 MPs are required to sign any proposal to bring in a no-confidence motion and indicated that Banerjee, whose party has only 19 members in the Lok Sabha, may not find support among the parties for her move to bring the no-confidence motion.

While Dikshit, who spoke from the party podium, refrained from attacking Banerjee, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, speaking separately, took a dig at her saying that never in the history of Parliament had a party with 19 members pushed for such an action.

"This is a peculiar situation that in the history of Parliament where a 19-member party is talking of a no-confidence motion," Tewari told reporters.

The minister rued that Banerjee is reaching out for support on her party's motion to even those opposition parties "which she has fought for the last 30 years."

"I hope she will re-introspect and reconsider her decision seriously because till three months back she was part of this government and TMC ministers were a part of it," he said at the same time.

Attacking the UPA government on FDI in retail and corruption issues, Banerjee had on November 17 said her party would bring in a no-confidence motion against the UPA in the winter session of Parliament.

She had sought the support of UPA allies as well as Left parties and expressed readiness to talk even to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Tewari wondered whether the West Bengal chief minister has a to right to "veto" other states like Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir which have decided to go in for FDI in retail.

"We have been saying that if the West Bengal chief minister does not want to implement FDI in retail in her state, she is free to do that. But if states like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Haryana want to implement it, then is it fair on her part to veto it?" he asked.

At the Congress briefing, Dikshit said FDI was an issue which should be discussed under rule 193, which does not entail voting.

"Voting should be on an issue which directly comes under the legislature. This being an executive order does not come directly under the purview of the legislature. Normally, decisions through executive orders are not put to vote in Parliament.

"There has been a convention of not putting these to vote in Parliament like foreign policy issues which are discussed in Parliament and people also express their disagreement but voting does not take place," Dikshit said, agreeing with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma's assertions.

Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat has rejected Sharma's assertion and cited a 2001 incident in Parliament when Roopchand Pal had moved a motion against the disinvestment of BALCO and the National Democratic Alliance allowing a vote on it.

On this, Dikshit said, "If the speaker so decides, we are happy to discuss any issue under any rule."

"Let the  solution come from any side. We have full confidence that we have more than 272 MPs. Whenever the need arises, we will prove it on the floor of the House," he added.

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