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'Miracle' trio makes Munda day

Ranchi, March 15: The BJP-led alliance was declared the winner of the trust vote in Jharkhand today after an MLA's car broke down on the way to the Assembly, another did not sign the attendance register and a third was confined to a hospital.

But the victor attributed the feat to its 'homework' skills. 'We did our homework and we passed the test,' said an NDA leader soon after the trial of strength. 'They (the UPA) messed up their homework and failed.'

The proud assertion summed up Tuesday's events in the Jharkhand Assembly, which in less than an hour endorsed the election of NDA's Inder Singh Namdhari as Speaker and carried the confidence motion moved by chief minister Arjun Munda.

For the third consecutive day, the NDA herded all its legislators into a bus and drove them to the Assembly.

Members of the UPA, however, were not monitored and all were left to reach the House on their own.

The 'democratic' arrangement had a disastrous consequence because as many as three MLAs associated with the UPA either failed to turn up or vote, giving the NDA an easy win rather than a close fight that was expected.

On paper, both alliances appeared to have had a tie with 40 members on each side after the election of Namdhari ' an NDA member ' as Speaker. But while all the NDA members stood up and were counted, there was no accounting for the three truants.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) member, Sukhram Oraon, was present in the House but did not sign on the attendance register, which was used by the Speaker to ascertain the presence of the Opposition members during the trust vote.

The Speaker's plea was that UPA members had created a din and were milling around the well of the House, making it impossible for them to be counted.

An NCP member, Kamlesh Singh, got himself admitted to a hospital and skipped the vote.

But the absence which turned out to be even more conspicuous was that of Joba Manjhi, who represents the United Goans Democratic Party (UGDP), which 'forgot' to issue a whip.

It is not entirely a coincidence, perhaps, that the convener of UGDP in Jharkhand, Nazm Ansari, happens to be a close friend of Manjhi, who was at the helm of the housing board during the earlier stint of the NDA.

The lady appeared in the Assembly after it was all over and claimed that her car had broken down on the outskirts of Khunti, 30 km from the state capital.

Ansari, however, let the cat out of the bag by conceding that Manjhi was unhappy with the JMM for casting aspersions on her over the sale of foodgrain meant for children.

The mist over Kamlesh Singh also cleared after BJP leader Rajnath Singh called on him at the hospital and spent 45 minutes chatting with the patient.

The MLA's family members broke their silence and claimed that Kamlesh would take oath as an NDA minister although he was among those who were sworn in when the short-lived Shibu Soren government took over.

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