NEW DELHI: In a relief to the government, three amendment motions moved by the Opposition on the anti-terror intelligence hub National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) were on Monday defeated in the Lok Sabha.
But the numbers in the House did little to bring solace to the government - there were 227 votes in favour of the government, 45 short of the 272-mark in the House.
Earlier, the Government had to face the embarrassment of its own ministers walking out during the vote - the Trinamool Congress, part of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), walked out of the House and didn’t participate in the voting. BSP MPs, too, walked out. The Samajwadi Party, on the other hand, expressed ‘satisfaction’ over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reply and withdrew its amendment on NCTC and voted in favour of the government on the amendments. The amendments were moved by the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Left, and the Biju Janata Dal. The BJP’s amendment on NCTC, moved by Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj was supported by 141 members while 226 MPs voted against it with one member abstaining. The amendment moved by CPM’s Basudeb Acharia found favour with 146 members while 227 opposed it. This prompted Swaraj to assert that the government was in a minority on the floor of the House. “There were 227 votes in favour of the government. It is 45 less than the majority mark. The government’s majority claim has been exposed,” said Sushma.
“It’s for the first time that even the alliance partner members walked out of the House. It’s a huge embarrassment for the government,” she added.
Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee later defended the walkout by her party MPs - while her party’s position against the NCTC is well-known, she said, they didn’t want to embarrass the government by voting against it, and ‘hence the walkout’.
She also termed the NCTC as ‘worse than POTA and TADA’. The Prime Minister, in his reply to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to President Pratibha Patil’s Address, said that consultations with state governments would continue about the plans and powers for the NCTC. He also added that the Home Minister would meet with all Chief Ministers on April 16 on the issue.