Confusion over votes after Rajya Sabha FDI debate

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 07, 2012 15:01 hrs

New Delhi: Confusion gripped the government after the FDI in retail debate in the Rajya Sabha over the exact number of votes cast in favour and against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) - prompting a reccount.

"Yes, we are going for the re-calculation," Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said.

Soon after it was announced that the government had defeated the opposition-sponsored motion against foreign investment in multi-brand retail, it was discovered that due to "some technical glitches", the total strength of the house had gone up to 248 instead of the present strength of 244.

The total strength of Rajya Sabha is 245 but with the death of former Maharashtra chief minister and union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, the number is reduced to 244.

As per the results declared by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, the UPA government got 123 votes, while the opposition got 109 votes.

Nine members of the Samajwadi Party walked out while seven members - Devender Goud T, Gundu Sudharani and Y.S. Chowdhary of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP); Janata Dal-United MP Bashistha Narain Singh, who was in Bihar; expelled Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Pyarimohan Mohapatra; Congress leader Murli Deora, who has undergone an operation and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who is playing in the test series against Engand - were absent.

The total of these votes would be 248 which is four more than the present strength of the house.

But the confusion started in the calculations, according to Rajya Sabha secretariat, due to votes being cast three times - twice electronically and once on paper ballots. The third ballot was necessitated after at least two members - Ram Jethmalani and Najma Heptullah - complained their votes had not been registered.

Hapless mediapersons had no other way than run around the galleries to find the exact number.

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