Dehra Dun, Mar 29: The Congress-led government in Uttarakhand, which had struggled to cobble up a majority after the recent elections, today comfortably won a trust vote in the Assembly with 39 MLAs voting in its favour.
Eight non-BJP members including three from BSP supported the trust motion tabled by Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, who got the backing all the 31 Congress MLAs.
With the nomination of an Anglo-Indian member, the strength of the Assembly is 71.
Besides those from the BSP, the non-BJP members comprised three independents, one from the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal and the nominated Ango-Indian member, R V Gardner, Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal informed the House.
The Chief Minister had faced a tough time in bringing around the rebel Congress faction under Union Minister Harish Rawat who had the support of 17 MLAs.
Opposition BJP, which has 31 members, marched out of Assembly demanding that a secret ballot system should have been used for voting on the motion.
“This is totally unconstitutional that the government did not accept our demand for secret ballot,” said Ajay Bhatt, a senior BJP MLA.
As soon as the House assembled for the day, Bahuguna tabled the one-line motion, saying he wanted to prove his majority on the floor of the House in view of the opposition demand.
“The members of the opposition have been stating for the past two days that my government does not have majority in the House. This is wrong as we have already proved our majority during the election of the Speaker,” he said.
The BJP nominee was defeated by ruling party's Kunjwal who got 39 votes in his favour.
“Still, in line of the healthy tradition of the democracy, I want to table a trust motion on the floor of the House,” Bahuguna said while urging the Speaker to order a division of votes.
However, the opposition members were on their feet demanding that secret ballot system be used for voting on the motion. Later, they stormed into the well of the House before trooping out.
The Chief Minister later slammed the BJP for staging a walkout after insisting on a confidence vote.
“It is ironical that BJP members staged a walkout during voting on trust motion, which they were demanding for the past two days. The same voting system was followed 27 times earlier in the country during such votes. I think they (BJP) did not participate (in the voting) as they do not have the numbers, “ Bahuguna told reporters after winning the trust vote.
“Though we had already proved our majority through election of the Speaker, we brought the trust vote to clear the doubts which were being created by opposition members,” he said.
Bahuguna said during a meeting of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) this morning, he had proposed that the government should face a trust vote in the house to clear the doubts regarding the majority.
The meeting was also attended by Virbhadra Singh and Chaudhary Birendra Singh as special representatives from the party high command. Union Minister Harish Rawat also joined the meeting later.
“I think the BJP is still finding it difficult to digest the fact that they have been voted out of power,” Bahuguna said.