The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Scare for Koda on vote-eve

Ranchi, Sept. 19: One vote lost, an unhappy MLA and a few legislators dangling their wish-lists: the day-old Madhu Koda government has its hands full ahead of tomorrow’s trial of strength.

The first jolt came with the CPI (ML) Liberation declaring it would vote against the government. “We have decided to vote against the confidence motion in the House tomorrow,” Liberation state secretary Subendu Sen told The Telegraph.

The CPI (ML) Liberation has one MLA in the Assembly (Bagodar’s Vinod Singh).

The Koda government will still have numerical advantage with 41 votes expected to be cast in its favour. “We have adequate numbers. There should not be any need of division of votes at all,” said Pradeep Balmuchu, the Congress leader who was sworn in as the officiating Speaker last evening, causing rumblings among senior legislators supporting the UPA.

Independent MLA Stephen Marandi, who is with Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Democratic), is said to be unhappy with Balmuchu’s choice as he was eyeing the post of Speaker.

UPA strategists swung into action to make sure that all those with grievances were placated. Bandhu Tirkey, the MLA from Mandar, who has been playing Koda’s Man Friday, visited Stephen at his residence to convince him to vote for the government. Girinath Singh of the RJD joined Tirkey to mollify Marandi and the xthree were closeted for nearly two hours.

But Stephen did not attend the UPA meeting this evening at the Ranchi Ashok. His party boss Babulal Marandi has already asserted it would not support the Koda regime.

Asked if he would vote in case of a last-minute upset, Balmuchu quipped: “You never know what unexpected situation could arise in a democratic system.” According to the Constitution, the Speaker can vote only in case of a tie.

As if this weren’t enough, some RJD legislators are warning their bosses to include them in the cabinet or face the music. Latehar MLA Prakash Ram has even demanded that he be inducted as the deputy chief minister.

With more hurdles expected, the Koda regime might not summon the winter session of the Assembly, observers said. Instead, it is likely to summon the budget session in February-March next year, which would give some time to put its own house in order.

The UPA had a breather with the NDA camp also set to be short by one. Ailing BJP member Upendra Das has rushed to Vellore for check-up.


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