The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Soren banks on nominee vote

Ranchi, March 8: Wishing to leave nothing to chance, the Shibu Soren government in Jharkhand today declared its resolve to go ahead with the nomination of an Anglo-Indian member of the Assembly.

The nominated member has full voting rights barring on finance bills.

A cabinet meeting has been called tomorrow to finalise the nomination, which will be notified on Thursday, when the Assembly has been convened and the day Governor Syed Sibtey Razi returns to Ranchi from Lucknow.

The decision assumes significance in view of the delicate balance in the House. While the UPA had submitted a list of 42 supporting MLAs to the governor, it appears reconciled to an Independent member, Harinarayan Rai, supporting the NDA. In case Jharkhand Party legislator Enos Ekka also supports the NDA, it is now certain he will be either disqualified or his vote disallowed because he will be voting against the party directive.

This would give rise to a tie with both UPA and NDA evenly balanced with 40 members. The nominated Anglo-Indian member would then be expected to tilt the balance in favour of the government and give it a majority of one. UPA: 41 NDA: 40.

The state Congress, prodded by the high command, withdrew its proposed rally in Ranchi on March 14, a day before the scheduled trial of strength.

The NDA, which had threatened to reciprocate in kind, followed suit, bringing a sigh of relief to parents and students who will appear in the CBSE, Matriculation, Intermediate and ICSE examinations, some of which have already begun while some are slated to start later this week.

The race for the Anglo-Indian slot has intensified with lobbying picking up for the three front-runners, ' Peter Lake from Jamshedpur, B.J. Rodrigues from Ranchi and Alfred Rozario from Patna, who also runs a school in McCluskieganj. The other two contenders also are associated with St Mary's School, Jamshedpur, and Vikas Vidyalaya, Ranchi.

RJD MLA and parliamentary affairs minister Girinath Singh today said the nominated Anglo-Indian member will be in place before the trust vote. He also refuted reports in the media that the governor had refused to issue the notification, presumably on the ground that it would not be politically correct to nominate a member by a government which is yet to win the confidence of the House.

Singh claimed that the UPA, by nominating an Anglo-Indian member to the Assembly, would not violate either past conventions or any constitutional provision.

'In 1996, the then Congress government at the Centre had nominated two Anglo-Indian representatives to the Lok Sabha with full voting powers. Again in 2000, after Nitish Kumar was hastily sworn in as the Bihar chief minister, the state government had nominated Joseph P. Galstone as the nominated member with full voting powers. We shall only follow past traditions by nominating one ourselves,' the minister said.

While BJP leaders put up a brave face, in private conversations they appear reconciled to sitting in the Opposition. Even senior BJP leaders conceded that the pro tem Speaker would be well be within his rights to disqualify any MLA on the lines of the recent Goa experience.

'The Constitution does not make any distinction between a full-time Speaker and a pro tem Speaker. Since the pro tem Speaker, Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, belongs to the Congress camp, the UPA would find the disqualification option easier,' he said.


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