Congress maintains record of winning trust votes

July 23rd, 2008 - 12:15 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) The congress Tuesday maintained its record of never having lost a trust vote in parliament. With this, of the nine trust votes in the Lok Sabha in the last 19 years, the government of the day has won seven while in two cases the incumbent prime ministers simply resigned without facing the house.

The concept of a trust vote gained currency only in 1979 because in all the general elections before that - from 1952 to 1977 - the mandate had been so decisive that there was no need for a confidence motion.

The first time a government faced the challenge on the number count was of Morarji Desai in 1979 when the ruling conglomeerate split, and Desai resigned. Charan Singh became the prime minister with the Congress support after an earlier split in the Janata Party. Realising he did not have the requisite numbers, he did not even come to the house to face a confidence motion and resigned.

The next time a trust vote was moved was a decade later when V.P. Singh became the prime minister in December 1989. With the Left parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party propping up his government, Singh won the vote, but was voted out 11 months later on the Mandal issue.

Chandra Shekhar, who succeeded Singh, won a trust motion in November 1990 but resigned five months later after the Congress party withdrew its support to the government.

Prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao won a confidence vote in July 1991. His government lasted a full five years though in minority.

Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda won a trust motion in June 1996 but lost in April 1997 when the Congress withdrew its support to his government.

Inder Kumar Gujral, who succeeded Gowda, won a vote of confidence in April 1997 but resigned in November after losing majority support.

In 1996, prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee resigned on the floor of the house before the confidence motion could be put to vote, admitting he did not have the numbers in his favour.

Vajpayee, however, won a trust vote in May 1998.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not have to move a confidence motion in 2004 as he was assured of majority with the outside support of the Left.

The same Left, however, withdrew support earlier this month following differences with the government over the India-US nuclear deal and reduced the ruling regime to minority.

While the Samajwadi Party came forward to offer support to the Manmohan Singh government, the prime minister was forced to seek a vote of confidence after 50 months in power.

Manmohan Singh, meanwhile, became the first prime minister not to vote on a trust motion since he is not a member of the Lok Sabha but of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament.

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