Govt defeats Opposition cut motions

Last Updated: Tue, Apr 27, 2010 14:58 hrs

New Delhi: The 11-month-old United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government sailed through the cut motions in the Lok Sabha Tuesday, thanks to a divided opposition and support from 21 members of Mayawati's Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP).

Amid walkout by members of the Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Speaker Meira Kumar permitted Opposition members to move separate cut motions, citing provisions of the Constitution, even though the demands for grants were set to be guillotined.

What is a cut motion?

The process, however, was not without its curious moments as the voting machine went kaput after the second division of vote, which was taken up first, on the motion moved by Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj. This was defeated 246:162 votes.

Most cut motions pertained to the demands of two ministries - petroleum and fertilisers - and sought to express dissent over the hikes proposed in prices of fuels and fertilisers.

Among others who joined Sushma Swaraj in moving the motions were BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi and Ananth Kumar, CPI-M's Basudeb Acharia, CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta, AIADMK's M. Thambi Durai and TDP's Nama Nageshwara Rao.

Voting on the first motion moved by Gurudas Dasgupta was conducted by slips. This was again defeated 289:201 votes. All the other motions were put to voice vote collectively and the speaker declared them defeated.

Most political parties, including members of the Congress party-led UPA, issued their respective whips to lawmakers to be present in the lower house of parliament during the proceedings.

When budget proposals are presented in parliament for approval, a lawmaker or a party can question specific allocations with a cut motion. If it is carried in the house, it amounts to a vote of no confidence and the government is obliged to quit.

But the treasury was confident of braving the dissent right through the day, especially after BSP chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati declared that her party MPs will vote against the cut motions of opposition parties.

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