The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Parade before Prez on trio’s day of reckoning

Sept. 12: The UPA has decided to parade its legislators before President Kalam in New Delhi tomorrow ahead of the hearing on the disqualification notices of three MLAs supporting the Opposition alliance.

Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari is to hold a daylong court to decide the fate of the three legislators — Anosh Ekka, Stephen Marandi and Kamlesh Singh — tomorrow, a day before the Arjun Munda government faces the confidence motion in the Assembly.

The UPA summoned all its MLAs, lodged in various parts of the country, to Delhi. Even Stephen, who, too, has to appear before the Speaker, left for the national capital.

However, the UPA is yet to get time from Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Former Congress MP R.K. Anand, a key strategist, said: “We will get the time tomorrow morning. There should not be any problem. We want to show that the UPA has the numbers in its favour.”

The move is a rerun of last year’s political drama when the NDA had paraded its legislators before the President. Kalam had later summoned the governor to know why he had invited Shibu Soren to form the government when the numbers were in favour of the NDA.

Once bitten, the Congress did not appear to be twice-shy as it asserted that it was willing to take another shot at propping up a government in Jharkhand. Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay, the MP from Ranchi, said all UPA constituents were in favour of a new government. “Rule out any possibility of mid-term elections. Polls at this juncture will not serve any purpose and the development process will suffer,” he said.

Sahay warned that the Centre would act if any attempt was made to use unfair means to win the trust vote.

The NDA, which tried to keep the morale of its MLAs intact by organising a dinner at Ranchi, asserted that it had the numbers in its favour. A crisis manager even claimed that four RJD legislators were ready to support the Munda government during the trust vote. Yet another move being considered in the NDA circles is that Inder Singh Namdhari will tender his resignation as Speaker before the trust vote and sit with the NDA camp.

In case of the disqualification of the three MLAs, the NDA and the UPA camps will be pegged at 39, including one nominated member, and 40 respectively. If Namdhari quits, the NDA strength will become 40. The appointment of a protem Speaker from the UPA will bring its number down to 39.

The BJP said it had the majority. Senior leader Venkaiah Naidu said the chief minister was Arjun, not Abhimanyu, who would emerge “champion of champions”.

Munda, however, skipped the dinner hosted by BJP Rajya Sabha member Ajay Maroo at Ranchi Club to “consolidate” the NDA members.

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