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Naveen Patnaik wins 'sudden' trust vote

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 11, 2009 18:25 IST
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Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday won a trust motion by voice vote but Opposition leaders rejected the victory as 'manipulation' prompting Governor M C Bhandare to seek video recording of the proceedings of the special session of the assembly.

Bhandare asked the Speaker's office to furnish the video recordings shortly after leaders of opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party walked out of the house and met him saying they wanted a division in the crucial trial of strength.

The two parties asked Bhandare to dismiss the government and recommend imposition of President's rule.

Meanwhile, on the number of members who supported the motion, Speaker Kishore Mohanty said 81 legislators in the 147-member house were present after the opposition walked out.

"The governor has asked us to furnish video records of the proceedings and also wanted to know if there is any past record about a trust motion being passed by voice vote," he said.

The trust motion, moved four days after withdrawal of BJP's support to the government following collapse of the BJD-BJP alliance over seat-sharing in the coming polls, was passed in barely two hours amid uproar, with Congress and BJP members storming the well.

Though the Speaker's office claimed that 81 members in support of the motion included BijuJanata Dal's 61, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's four, Nationalist Congress Party's two, Communist Party of India's one and Communist Party of India-Marxist's one besides seven Independents and five from BJP, including three who had quit recently, opposition leaders questioned its veracity.

Government Chief Whip Bikram Keshari Arukh also claimed that the motion was backed by 81 members. The voice vote was taken up when opposition members were against the motion terming it as violative of the Model Code of Conduct as election dates had been declared.

Though Congress leaders rejected the voice vote as 'murder of democracy', some in the BJP camp claimed Congressmen allegedly created a situation deliberately to pave the way for passage of the motion by voice vote as part of 'a deal' with the ruling BJD.

"Indirectly Congress members helped BJD to sail through without even discussion on the trust motion," said a saffron leader requesting anonymity.

Refuting the charge, the chief minister said "When the motion was put to vote, none sought division and it was passed by voice vote."

Pandemonium erupted in the House when the chief minister moved the motion and spoke on achievements of his government. "As election dates have already been announced, the trust motion is likely to influence the voters' mind," Narsingh Mishra said, asking Speaker Kishore Mohanty to convene a meeting of all political parties to discuss the matter.

"Is this House not being used to influence the voters," he asked, demanding that the chief minister's speech be examined and portions that violated the model code be deleted.

BJP members trooped into the well demanding immediate disqualification of three MLAs, who had resigned from the saffron party recently.

The ruling BJD, which has 61 members including the Speaker in the 147-member Assembly, had received the support of eight legislators belonging to JMM (4), NCP (2), CPI (1) and CPI-M (1).

In addition, seven of the eight independent members had also extended support, while another independent legislator, Sambhunath Nayak, decided to abstain from voting.

Congress has 38 members in the house, while BJP's effective strength stood reduced from 32 to 29 after three of its legislators quit the party accusing it of deviating from its ideology.

The chief minister while introducing the trust vote in the House expressed his gratitude to the political parties, which had extended support to his government after the BJP withdrew its support.

While Patnaik attacked the Centre and claimed that nine years of BJD rule demonstrated that it worked for development, progress and welfare of the people, Narsingh Mishra termed "listing of achievements as violative of model code of poll conduct".

Though the Speaker had given a ruling that none would say anything in the House that could influence the voters, the chief minister narrated everything related to achievements of his government, he claimed.

As uproarious scenes continued, the motion was passed by a voice vote with ruling benches thumping the desks to mark the survival of the Naveen Patnaik government.

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