Sub-plan vote gives government a scare
By Express News Service | Published: 03rd December 2012 08:43 AM |
The SC, ST sub-plan bill was passed in its original form in the Assembly late Sunday night, but not before the Congress government faced acute embarrassment with the Speaker surprising them by allowing the TDP’s demand for voting.
The TDP had suddenly come up with the demand for division on an amendment to the bill that the funds be allotted to the SCs on the basis of A,B,C and D categories of the SCs. And in a rare display of unity, all other opposition parties, including the YSR Congress, backed the Telugu Desam. As many as 42 amendments were proposed to the bill by all the parties.
Though the amendment proposed by the opposition was lost - with 47 votes in its favour and 69 against - it came as no solace for the ruling party since it exposed chinks in the management of the show in the House.
As soon as the Speaker allowed the division, the chief minister, realising that the government was on a slippery wicket, made an appeal to the members not to press for division as there were no A,B, C, D categories in the first place. “There is a Supreme Court order that for categorisation of the SCs, the constitution has to be amended by Parliament,” he said.
At this juncture, TDP’s P Ashok Gajapathi Raju and a few others wanted the Speaker to summon the advocate general to seek legal opinion on whether or not the amendment could be entertained. But as it was late in the night, they gave the alternate option of the Speaker himself making a ruling.
The government faced anxious moments as nearly half of the Congress MLAs had left the House, probably thinking the bill would be passed by voice vote itself. The Congress had not issued a whip to its MLAs and there was near panic when the speaker allowed voting. At the time of voting, there were only 116 legislators in the House as against the full strength of 294.
After the amendment was defeated, the Speaker put the original bill for voting and the landmark bill was unanimously adopted by the House a little after 11 p.m. BJP’s G Kishan Reddy said they wanted the bill passed and his party would fight for the categorisation of SCs outside the Assembly.
Later after the House was adjourned sine die, the chief minister alleged that the opposition had tried to stall the passage of the bill but the ruling party had scored a victory over them. Finance minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy alleged that the YSRCP had colluded with the TDP in the House to embarrass the government.