Friday, March 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rabri wins trust vote
NDA boycotts voting

PATNA, March 16 (PTI) — The Chief Minister, Ms Rabri Devi, today sailed through comfortably in the crucial trust vote in the Bihar Assembly amidst an Opposition walkout, securing the support of 166 MLAs, five more than the half-way mark in the House.

The one-line confidence motion of Ms Rabri Devi, who had submitted a list of 162 MLAs to the Governor while staking a claim to power after the exit of the Nitish Kumar government, was carried with 166 votes for and four against.

With the 122-member NDA and the 12-member JMM (S) staying away from voting in a House having an effective strength of 322, protesting the Speaker, Mr Sadanand Singh’s decision to order a division, the motion’s passage was a mere formality.

While the six-member CPI-ML abstained from voting, four CPI MLAs voted against the motion.

While staking a claim, Ms Rabri Devi presented a list of 162 MLAs to the Governor, Mr V.C. Pande, including the RJD (123), CPM (2), Congress (23), BSP (5), RCP (2), MCC (1) and six others. Mr Nitish Kumar resigned last week without facing a trial of strength in the House.

Agitated Opposition members sat on a dharna in the well of the House after the Speaker turned down their objections to voting by division.

After the voice vote on the motion failed to throw up a clear picture, the Speaker ordered a division vote, triggering a strong protest from NDA and JMM (S) members.

An angry Leader of the Opposition, Mr Sushil Kumar Modi, demanded that the voting be done by head count. “You could have adopted the procedure of division only when anybody objected to a head-count,” he said.

Turning down the Opposition’s request for a head count, the speaker said he had ordered the division keeping in view the provisions of anti-defection law as respective parties had already issued a whip to their MLAs.

The Leader of the Opposition in the House, Mr S.K. Modi, later told reporters that the Speaker had “ blatantly violated” parliamentary norms by rejecting their plea for voting by head count.

The RJD leader, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, described the outcome of the confidence vote as a ‘victory of secularism and social justice’ and defended the Speaker’s decision of carrying out confidence vote.

The Speaker also defended his decision of allowing the House to divide on the confidence motion, saying, “I have maintained established parliamentary norms”.


Pande must go: CM

PATNA, March 16(UNI) — The Bihar Chief Minister, Ms Rabri Devi today, demanded the resignation of the Governor, Mr Vinod Chandra Pande, saying he had no moral right to continue after her government won the confidence vote in the assembly.

She termed the win as ‘historic’ and said Mr Pande did not have the moral right to continue ‘even for a moment’ after it was proved that his decision to call Mr Nitish Kumar was ‘‘unconstitutional.’’

The Chief Minister said her ministry would be expanded soon after discussions with the supporting parties, including the Congress, the BSP, and CPM.

NEW DELHI: Jubilant RJD members in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday demanded immediate recall of the Bihar Governor in view of the confidence vote won by the Rabri Devi Government in the state.

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