Naveen Patnaik Survives Trust Vote

Orissa Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal president Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday won trust in the Legislative Assembly, the BJP and Congress walked out in protest of the manner in which the confidence motion moved by him was passed by voice vote.

Later in the day, Congress and BJP legislators separately met Governor MC Bhandare at the Raj Bhavan, Bhandare summoned the Speaker to enquire of proceedings during the special session. He also called for the records.

The Raj Bawan is yet to offer an opinion on the matter.

The session was convened at the Governor’s behest after the Patnaik government lost was reduced to a minority following the withdrawal of support by the BJP.

Mohanty said he did not allow a debate on the motion as the model code of conduct was in force. The motion was passed by voice vote as the Opposition legislators did not seek division of votes.

Patnaik clarified that many legislators were opposed to a discussion on the motion on the ground of enforcement of the code. When the motion was put to vote, no one asked for a division and it was passed by voice vote, he said.

Patnaik moved the motion claiming he had the support of over 74 legislators.

Media reports say, though the BJD has 61 members in the 147-member House, there were 80 legislators in the House, excluding the Speaker, after the Congress and the BJP members staged a walkout.

The 80 comprised 60 from the BJD, seven Independents, five BJP, four Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, two Nationalist Congress Party and one CPI(M) and one CPI members.

The BJP withdrew support after it failed to reach an agreement with the BJD on seat-sharing for the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

The Bharatiya Janata Party termed the vote ‘undemocratic and unconstitutional’.

Describing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as ‘murderer of democracy’, BJP’s State unit president Suresh Pujari said the manner in which the entire process of confidence motion was conducted will go down as the darkest day in the history of parliamentary democracy.

The Chief Minister resorted to ‘horse trading’ and adopted ‘unfair and unethical methods’ to save his government which was reduced to minority after withdrawal of support by the BJP, he said at a media conference here.

Congress too demanded imposition of President’s rule in the State alleging that the State Government manipulated rules to win the trust vote in the Assembly by a voice vote.

Accusing the State Government of “murdering democracy” to cling to power, Congress state unit chief KP Singhdeo told reporters that the Government won the trust vote without voting. He alleged that no member was given slips and voting machines were not used.

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