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Ghulam Nabi Azad struggles with numbers

The fact sheet of numbers in the Assembly is against Ghulam Nabi Azad. Yet the confidence the CM exudes suggests that his Govt might just scrape through, reports Arun Joshi.
Hindustan Times | By Arun Joshi, Jammu
UPDATED ON JUL 07, 2008 12:46 PM IST

The fact sheet of numbers in the Assembly is against Ghulam Nabi Azad, who seeks a vote of confidence on Monday. Yet the confidence the Chief Minister exudes suggests that his government might just scrape through.

Against Azad’s requirement of 45 in the 87-strong House, the Congress leaders who met in Srinagar on Sunday could count only 42 in their favour. These include original members, associates, the CPM and Independents. The number against him is 47 — NC’s 24, PDP’s 17, Jammu & Kashmir National Panthers’ Party’s four and one each of the Jammu State Morcha and the BJP.

In the given circumstances, the party is relying on abstentions. “Anything is possible in politics and if some one stays out of the session tomorrow, it is not horse trading,” a Congress minister said.

He cited the example of PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who has gone to the US for a medical check-up. “If the PDP patron can have health problems, others can too.”

The political crisis in the state where the coalition was set to complete its term without any hurdles started on the problem of land transfer to the Amarnath shrine board. The government was reduced to a minority after the PDP withdrew support on June 28 over the issue.

Azad not only recommended the acceptance of the resignations but also declared confidently that he had more than the required numbers. “I have the numbers,” he told the media.

He wrote to Governor N.N. Vohra that he was willing to face a vote any time, and in response, Vohra asked him to prove his majority on July 7.

Panthers’ Party alleges threat

Panthers’ Party chairman Bhim Singh charged National Security Advisor M.K. Naryanan of “intimidating” him and his party to secure their support for the Azad government.

Singh told a press conference that the NSA called him last evening and asked him to make his four MLAs vote for the Congress. He claimed Narayanan told him: “In case of a no, doors are shut both in Delhi and Srinagar.”

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