Oppn splits, Maya rescues UPA govt

Oppn splits, Maya rescues UPA govt

A breach in the Opposition ranks ensured a smooth sailing for the UPA government through cut motions in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

The ruling coalition emerged victorious with 289 votes against the cut motions and 201 in its favour. The UPA’s survival was brought on as Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supported the government and the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal staged a walkout criticising the Left for joining hands with the BJP.

The Third Front parties —the four Left parties, the AIADMK, the TDP and Ajit Singh’s RLD, besides the SP, RJD and JD(S) —had only a fortnight ago forged a unity to organise Tuesday’s bundh against price rise. These parties ensured that Parliament did not conduct smooth business throughout Tuesday. But by evening, the unity collapsed.
Those who voted in favour of the cut motions — they were several dozens — included the NDA, the Left parties, the AIADMK, the BJD of Orissa chief minister Navin Patnaik, the TDP and the RLD.

The House, which met at 6pm to take vote on demands for grants for the general Budget following a spate of adjournments during the day, first took up the cut motion on price rise moved by Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj.

This was defeated by 246 votes to 162 votes (but scores of members who could not vote through electronic machine later voted through slips provided by the Lok Sabha staff). The final figure of this cut motion was not made available.

The second cut motion of CPI member Gurudas Dasgupta was put to vote and was defeated by 289 to 201 votes. Voting in this case was done manually as the electronic machines failed.

The rest of the motions were all taken together and guillotined through voice vote.
That the government was confident of braving the dissent became apparent in the morning as Mayawati declared that her party MPs will vote against the cut motions introduced by Opposition parties “to keep the communal forces away”. Interestingly, the BSP’s support to the Congress-led government came in the backdrop of the CBI telling the Supreme Court last week that it did not intend to pursue the disproportionate assets case against Mayawati.

While speaking to reporters, BJP leader Arun Jaitley alleged that the UPA was keeping the Damocles’ sword hanging over the the necks of “vulnerable” leaders from the BSP, RJD and the SP.

Most of the Opposition cut motions pertained to demands of two ministries — Petroleum and Fertilisers — and sought to express dissent over the hikes proposed in the prices of fuels and fertilisers. Among others who joined Sushma Swaraj in moving the motions were BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi and Ananth Kumar, CPM’s Basudeb Acharia, CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta, AIADMK’s M Thambi Durai and TDP’s Nama Nageshwara Rao.

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