Patnaik wins trust vote, Orissa opposition alleges manipulation (Second Intro Roundup)

March 11th, 2009 - 11:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, March 11 (IANS) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Wednesday won a trust vote in the state assembly amid bedlam and walkout by a fuming opposition that alleged manipulation, prompting Governor M.C. Bhandare to examine the video recording of the special session.
The trust vote session was held three days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew its support to the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-led coalition government.

The entire process of moving and passing the confidence motion lasted a mere 43 minutes. There was no discussion on the trust motion. The motion was moved by the chief minister after the obituary reference to a former member and was put to voice vote amid noisy protests from the opposition benches.

Partnaik said he enjoyed the support of more than 74 legislators in the 147-member house and was facing the floor test on the directions of the governor.

The BJP and the Congress frantically pressed the governor to dismiss the government and recommend for president’s rule even as Patnaik emerged victorious from the trust motion.

“No one asked for a division and the motion was passed by a voice vote,” Patnaik told reporters.

However, Congress and BJP members said they had raised objection but their voices were drowned in the din and Speaker Kishor Mohanty hurriedly disposed of the matter.

The BJP and Congress leaders separately met Bhandare and demanded dismissal of the government, alleging manipulation in the trust vote. The BJD denied the charge.

The governor summoned the speaker and told him to submit the video recording of the proceedings and other records related to the voting.

“The assembly authority has already submitted to the governor the video recording of the proceedings and other details related to the voting,” a senior official in the governor’s secretariat told IANS.

Patnaik called off the 11-year-old BJP-BJD alliance Saturday after their talks for seat-sharing ahead of the April-May Lok Sabha and assembly elections failed. The BJP and the BJD fought three Lok Sabha and two assembly elections together.

He lost no time in forging ties with the Left, stunning the BJP, which had been banking on a good showing in Orissa, a state that elects 21 MPs.

After the split, smaller parties and some independents immediately announced their support to Patnaik.

The BJP accused the chief minister and the speaker of “killing” democracy by resorting to voice vote.

“Patnaik has betrayed the people of Orissa by adopting unfair means to remain as chief minister,” BJP national vice-president Jual Oram told IANS. “Today was a black day for Indian democracy.”

He insisted that the government did not enjoy majority support in the assembly.

Congress leader Narasimha Mishra added: “The speaker and the chief minister both are killers of democracy. They did not allow a discussion. It was unconstitutional.”

Countered the BJD’s chief whip Bikram Keshari Arukh: “The opposition staged a walkout. They should have stayed on in the house and asked for a division.”

The assembly witnessed pandemonium as the Congress and BJP members maintained the timing of the motion was not correct because the model code of conduct had come into force ahead of the Lok Sabha election.

Despite vociferous opposition, Speaker Mohanty put the motion to a voice vote and declared the government had won majority support in the legislature.

The BJD, which has 61 members in the assembly, needed the support of 13 more members to win the confidence vote. The BJP has a 32-member bloc but three of them decided to back the government.

The BJD earlier said it had been assured support by four Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislators, one each of the Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India-Marxist, six Independents and three BJP rebels.

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