New Delhi, Mar 19: Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj today said government's majority claim was exposed in the Lower House as it failed to cross the half way mark of 272 when the amendments to the President's Address were put to vote.
“They (government) have been saying- ‘We have the number, we have the number'. Mr Prime Minister, where is the number?” Swaraj said on Twitter.
Talking to reporters, she insisted that the government had made all efforts to get its allies on board during the voting on the President's Address and had even postponed the exercise from Thursday to Monday but failed to get the numbers.
“There were 227 votes in favour of the government. It is 45 less than the majority. The government's majority claim has been exposed,” Swaraj said.
She maintained that although in his speech Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured that Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi's resignation will be forwarded to the President for acceptance, yet the TMC members did not vote with the Government and walked out of the House.
“It is for the first time that even Ministers of alliance partner (TMC) walked out of the House. It is huge embarrassment for the government. While TMC and BSP joined in the walkout, SP voted with the government. It is the beginning of realignment?,” Swaraj wondered.
Interestingly, though there was a three-line whip to all BJP members, some of them were not present during the division of votes on the President's speech.
Swaraj has asked her office to find out which BJP MPs were not present and will enquire about the reasons why these members could not make it.
“This vote was slated for Thursday. Government got it delayed as it was trying to muster the numbers. On Thursday, our members were present almost in full strength then,” Swaraj said.
Some of the MPs could not make it on time from their constituencies as today is the first working day of the week.
Ananth Kumar and Ananth Kumar Hegde reached late as their flight from Bangalore was delayed. Among others who were absent are Deputy Leader of BJP in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde and Varun Gandhi.
Swaraj maintained that more than the opposition, it is the government which should have got the numbers as it was a prestige issue for them.
“Even during the Lokpal Bill constitutional status vote, the government could not get the numbers,” she said.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain charged that the government's claim of enjoying a majority has been proved hollow and it has no right to govern.
“Whenever we have tested this government on the floor of the House they have failed. Whether it was giving constitutional status to Lokpal, which was Rahul Gandhi's dream, or the vote today,” Hussain said.
He said since the states were not in agreement on the NCTC issue it should not have been put in the President's Address till a consensus had been evolved.
Hussain also took jibes at the UPA government for meting out such treatment to its allies and for “always trying to insult Mamta Banerjee”.