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Naveen Patnaik wins vote of confidence.

Byline: Nilofar Suhrawardy

NEW DELHI: Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik won a vote of confidence in the state assembly yesterday amid pandemonium caused by the Congress objecting to the motion on technicality. The motion was passed by voice vote.

The Congress maintained that the timing of the motion was not correct because the model code of conduct had come into force ahead of the April-May Lok Sabha elections.

The trust vote took place after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew legislative support to Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal (BJP), reducing it to a minority in the 147-member house following the breakdown of seat-sharing talks between them.

Barring the Congress, smaller parties and some independents immediately came to the rescue of Patnaik.

The BJD with 61 members in the 147-member assembly, including the Speaker, received support of eight legislators belonging to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-4, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-2, Communist Party of India (CPI)-one and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)- one.

Patnaik's government survived after clearing a sudden voice vote. He claimed that he enjoyed the support of more than 74 legislators. Patnaik's government was forced to face the trust vote following the withdrawal of BJP's support.

Describing Patnaik's win as "murder of democracy" and as a case "opportunism," the BJP has decided to focus on Patnaik's betrayal during the state assembly and the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP will also highlight the developments made possible in Orissa during the tenure of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance at the center. Banking on its anti-Congress as well as anti-BJD campaign, the BJP has decided to contest for the 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly constituencies on its own.

The BJP frantically pressed Governor M.C. Bhandare to dismiss the government even after the triumphant Patnaik emerged victorious in the voice vote. "No one asked for a division and the motion was passed by a voice vote," Patnaik told reporters.

Patnaik had called off the 11-year alliance between the BJP and his own party last week after deciding that the former needed to be cut to size ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

He lost no time in forging ties with the Left, stunning the BJP, which had been banking on a good showing in Orissa, a state that elects 21 MPs.

Political crisis has also surfaced in Meghalaya with the NCP led-Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) losing majority after withdrawal of support by a senior minister. Urban Affairs Minister Paul Lyngdoh of Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement and two independents, Limison Sangma and Ismail R. Marak have pulled out from the coalition, reducing its strength to 30 in the 60-member assembly.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Mar 12, 2009
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