Eight BJP MPs expelled over trust vote, Advani blasts government (Lead)

July 23rd, 2008 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday expelled eight of its Lok Sabha MPs for voting for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or abstaining during the parliament trust vote, and BJP leader L.K. Advani alleged that the government would have lost the battle but for cross voting. The expelled MPs are Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Somabhai Patel, K. Manjunath and H.T. Sangliana (for cross-voting) as well as Manorama Madhwaraj, Chandrabhan Singh, Harising Rathod and Babubhai Katara (for abstaining), BJP president Rajnath Singh told reporters after a meeting of party leaders.

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government won a confidence motion by 19 votes Tuesday night, a result that stunned the opposition before the number of opposition MPs who cross-voted in violation of the party whip or stayed away became known.

“I am in a position to say that this cross voting, if that had not taken place, then yesterday evening the UPA would not have won,” said Advani, the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP.

“It is a tainted victory. July 22 will be considered a black day.”

Advani came down heavily on the government, saying its attempt to buy over opposition MPs in its desperation to stay in power had sullied the image of the Indian parliament.

The reference was to the dramatic display in parliament Tuesday evening of wads of currency by three BJP MPs who said that Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and Congress leader Ahmed Patel tried to bribe them. Amar Singh and Patel denied the charge.

“The whole thing is so scandalous that it reeks of muck,” Advani said.

“I would like to congratulate those three (BJP) MPs (that) they put their case in parliament. It is a serious matter. I want speaker (Somnath Chatterjee) to quickly investigate the matter. There should be no delay.”

Advani made comparisons between what happened in parliament Tuesday to the Bofors corruption scandal that led to the defeat of the Congress government in the 1989 Lok Sabha election.

Earlier, Rajnath Singh announced that the BJP would organise from Thursday protests all over the country against what he said was the dubious manner the UPA government won the trust vote. Rallies would be held in all state capitals on July 27.

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