Manmohan Singh government wins trust vote (Fourth Lead)

July 22nd, 2008 - 10:28 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government won the crucial confidence motion in India’s parliament by a surprisingly large margin confounding sceptics who had predicted a cliffhanger. After the result of manual voting was announced following flaws found in the electronic voting system, it was found that the government had won by 19 votes, with 275 votes in favour and 256 votes against.

Ten MPs abstained, while seven defied their party whips.

The vote count took around 45 minutes after a day of high drama. A large body of 54 MPs voted through paper slips, delaying the count, after they either could not vote electronically or had pressed the wrong button.

They also included four MPs who were ill and voted from the inner lobby. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was among them.

Ruling alliance MPs had begun crowding around a smiling prime minister and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to congratulate them as soon as the provisional results were announced on the electronic screen.

The second day of the confidence motion debate had earlier been marred by three Bharatiya Janata Party MPs alleging that they had been bribed to abstain from the trust vote, a charge hotly denied by the ruling alliance as well as its supporting Samajwadi Party. Chatterjee said the matter would be investigated.

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