April 27, 2010 6:49:11 pm
The much-hyped trial of strength for the government in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday proved to be a dampener with the House defeating the cut motion on petroleum prices by a big margin exposing huge divisions in the Opposition.
The cut motion moved by CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta on failure to formulate proper policies on petroleum products was defeated by a margin of 88 votes when it received the support of 201 votes with 289 voting against it in a House of 543.
The government breezed through the Opposition challenge helped by a walk out by the Samajwadi Party and RJD together accounting for 25,and 21 BSP members voting with treasury benches in what was initially seen as a possible close trial of strength for the UPA-II coalition.
Another surprise voter for the government was Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren,who runs the state government on BJP’s support.
The cut motion received the support of mainly BJP and its allies and Left Parties,while SP and RJD MPs walked out of the House before the vote,notwithstanding their attack on the government on the issue of price rise.
Another cut motion of Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj was defeated 162-246 in a division.
Earlier in the day,the way for smooth passage of the demands was paved by BSP supremo and UP Chief Minister Mayawati who announced the party’s support for the government to keep “communal forces” at bay from power in the centre.
A similar reason was advanced by RJD and SP before walking out of the House,minutes ahead of the voting.
The BJP saw in it a government strategy of “misusing” CBI as a political instrument keeping the Damocle’s sword on “vulnerable” opposition leaders.
A senior BJP leader said the party has taken note of Soren supporting the government on the cut motion.
Leader of the House and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee later said the demands for grants were passed as expected.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal wondered what the NDA and the Left Parties have achieved when against their total strength of 222,they got the support of only 201.
The demands for grants were taken up for voting after Speaker Meira Kumar applied guillotine on the discussion on demands for grants for over 60 ministries.
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