M A I N   N E W S

UPA bulldozes Oppn’s cut motions
Divided Opposition, Maya’ support ensures UPA win
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
The Opposition, attempting to create history in the Lok Sabha by introducing cut motions to the guillotine of collective demands of 60 ministries and departments, failed to mobilise adequate numbers today, as Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad’s RJD staged a walkout before the vote while Mayawati’s BSP came out in support of the government.

The division resulted in 289 members rejecting CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta’s cut motion and 201 supporting it, with no abstentions. This fell considerably short of the Opposition claims and showed that quite a few members from the Opposition benches failed to turn up, ignoring the three-line whip issued by most parties. The whole process became tedious with the electronic voting machine failing at the last minute and the members having to sign slips to register their votes.

After several adjournments throughout the day because of disruption by the Opposition parties pressing their respective issues, the House assembled at 6 pm to apply guillotine.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj moved a cut motion that was defeated by 246 votes against 162, with two abstentions.

The Speaker then took up Dasgupta’s motion on government failure to formulate proper policies on petroleum products. It was defeated by a margin of 88 votes.

Interestingly, Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren, still a member of the Lok Sabha and running a government in his state with the BJP support, turned up and voted for the government. Till yesterday, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj had claimed that Soren would vote for them.

A BJP leader later said his party had taken note of Soren’s decision to support the government.

When the House assembled for the guillotine at 6 pm, Lalu and Mulayam attacked the government on the price rise issue, but insisted that the cut motions did not serve any purpose and castigated the Left for voting with the BJP. They staged a walkout amidst BJP members raising slogans against Lalu Prasad. They announced that they would not want to strengthen communal forces. The BSP also argued on similar lines justifying its decision to vote with the government.

The BJP, however, saw in it a government strategy of “misusing” the CBI as a political instrument keeping the Damocles’ sword on “vulnerable” Opposition leaders.Immediately thereafter, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee moved the Bill to get all demands for grants passed and his motion was passed amidst thumping of desks by the treasury benches led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister PK Bansal later pointed out that while the NDA and the Left parties total strength worked out to 222, they got only 201 votes, proving the futility of moving cut motions.


Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren, who runs the state government with BJP support, voted in favour of the UPA government. A senior BJP leader said the party has taken note of Soren supporting the government on the cut motion.




First time in 63yrs, cut motions allowed on guillotined demands
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 27
For the first time in 63 years of Parliamentary history, Speaker of the Lok Sabha today allowed cut motions in respect of demands for grants of ministries that were guillotined.

Never before have such motions, which empower MPs to reduce demand for grant of a certain ministry by a specific amount, been allowed when a guillotine is applied. Guillotine is the putting together of demands for grants of all ministries for the purpose of passage by the House.

Setting a precedent today, LS Speaker Meira Kumar upheld the argument which CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta made in a letter to her earlier. He cited Article 113 of the Constitution which vests the House of People to assent to a demand subject to reduction of the amount specified in that demand. The said Article allows MPs a right to move cut motions on any demand submitted to the House for approval, irrespective of whether the demand is guillotined.

Conceding to the argument which BJP’s Sushma Swaraj also raised in the Business Advisory Committee meeting held on April 15, the Speaker allowed cut motions today on the demands of Ministry of Finance whose notification led to the rise in the prices of fuel.

Meira Kumar said the Constitutional right was a superior right and overrode Parliamentary practices hitherto followed. The practice so far was to not allow cut motions in respect of demands for grants to be guillotined on grounds that these demands are not circulated.

“But I didn’t find any rule that bars the moving of a cut motion on demands not discussed in the House. The right to move cut motions flows from the powers vested in the House by Article 113 of the Constitution. The said Article doesn’t make distinction between the demands which are discussed and those which are guillotined. It uses the words “any demands”. It is, thus, clear that cut motions can be moved on all demands submitted to the House under Article 113 (2),” the Speaker ruled.





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