When voting machines failed the MPs

When voting machines failed the MPs

When voting machines failed the MPs

Union Minister for I&B Ambika Soni with MoS for HRD Purandeshwari Devi (right) outside the Parliament House after a Lok Sabha session in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Officials in the House told Deccan Herald that the machines had malfunctioned for the first time. “The ten-year old machines are of Holland –Philips make. They were tested during the day and a rehearsal was carried out. It is the first time they refused to work”, they said. In fact, the machine did not fail during the first cut motion but refused to budge when the second one was taken by Speaker Meira Kumar.

 The Lok Sabha, packed to its seams was ready for division after the Speaker explained the procedure for voting and how to press the green (for ayes), Red (nays) and yellow (abstain) buttons installed in the desk of each MP. The members were asked to move to their allocated seats.

Secretary General V D T Achari elaborated on the procedure again before the members reached out to the button of their choice.

Minutes before, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav had tactically walked out of the House with the former claiming that they could vote with the Left but not with the BJP. The NDA members shouted “Chor machaye shore” (a thief posing to be a victim) to which Lalu reacted angrily and gesticulated before trooping out of the House. The din was complete.

The members, particularly the young ones, seemed to be enjoying themselves between the time of  Yadavs’ walkout and the tabling of the cut motions. In the boisterous Opposition benches, Kirti Azad, Shiv Kumar Udasi, Anurag Thakur and Varun Gandhi and other back-benchers kept exchanging lighter notes and fruitfully busied themselves. Elderly saffron leaders–L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi– in the front row kept much to themselves.

The treasury side was quieter with Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as always, keeping their cool and not smiling. Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi sat at the back.

EU delegates

Some of the delegates from the European Union, seated in the visitors gallery, who had just enjoyed the spectacle involving Lalu’s verbal clash with the NDA members waited for the members to cast their votes.

 The bell went off and members pressed the buttons on the cut motions moved by BJP leader Sushma Swaraj. The machine showed 410 members in support and 162 in opposition with two abstaining–a total of 246 voted. But it was the second cut motion by Gurudas Dasgupta of the CPI which refused to take off with the display board refusing to register any number.