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Last- minute gasp for Govt

04:59 AM Jun 02, 2019 |

OUR BUREAU New Delhi

In a second breather in two days, the UPA government on Tuesday survived yet another crisis with last- minute rescue by the 17- member Bahujan Samaj Party. The BSP helped the government defeat the concerted BJP

– Left attempt to censure it on the National Counter Terrorism Centre in the Rajya Sabha.

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Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee, however, ditched the government, knowing well that the UPA does not have the numbers in the House. As had happened in the Lok Sabha on Monday, all its six members, including Mukul Roy, sworn in three hours ago as the new railway minister, trooped out of the House just before four amendments on NCTC were put to vote.

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The amendments were, nonetheless, defeated by 105 to 82 votes, bringing great relief to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who, in a state of anxiety, kept his fingers perpetually on the voting buttons, much before the voting actually took place.

The BSP joined the Samajwadi Party in a change of strategy, immediately after absenting a day earlier in the Lok Sabha. Its leaders justified the turnaround claiming that they had accepted the PMs word in the reply to the debate that nothing will be done to infringe upon the federal character of the Constitution.

The Opposition kept harping that the PM should withdraw the amendments, since he has promised to set up the NCTC only after consent of the chief ministers, but Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal spurned the demand, asserting that they can not ‘dictate’the outcome of the CMsalt39conference.

BJP member M Venkaiah Naidu jumped to his feet as soon as the amendments were defeated to declare that ‘federalism has gone’and the BJP, Left an JD( U) members staged a walkout, saying they were totally disappointed over the governments stand. The voting was over and hence the walkout was of no consequence, except to register angst over the defeat.

Opposition leader Arun Jaitley stepped in to point out that all that the opposition members want is an assurance that the proposed anti- terror body will not investigate, arrest and search without the state governments consent.

Even under TADA and POTA, the investigation powers were with the state police, he pointed out.

The Prime Minister remained mum, letting the parliamentary affairs minister take on the Opposition.

Finding that there was no consensus, Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan went ahead with voting and division, even as Ahluwalia shouted that this will send a message to the nation that the government does not want a federal structure.

Besides six TMC members, about 50 other MPs did not turn up for voting.

Minus TMC, the UPAs strength in the House is 88 that includes Cong 71, DMK and NCP 7 each, National Conference 2 and Rashtriya Lok Dal 1.

Hence the floor managers were worried that the government may lose by a whisker if the BSP does not cast its vote.

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