August 11, 2020
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"Saifuddin Soz Cost Us The Government"

Parliamentary affairs minister Rangarajan Kumaramangalam was the man in the hot seat trying to organise the numbers for the Vajpayee coalition. Speaking in Parliament soon after the government fell, he insisted that he had the numbers right all along

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"Saifuddin Soz Cost Us The Government"
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The BSP did to the BJP what your party did to it in UP...

Even on the morning of the vote, BSP leaders Kanshi Ram and Mayawati called up the prime minister and reiterated what they had said on the floor of the House—that they would abstain. But what I feel really let down about is Saifuddin Soz's (National Conference) stand. His is the vote that cost us the government. Farooq Abdullah had assured us that he would vote for the motion, but Soz backed out. Contrary to perception, all our allies (including Kalpnath Rai of the Samata Party) voted for us apart from Soz. In fact, in the morning before the session began, I knew that we were only one vote away. (If Soz had supported the motion, it would have been a tie at 269 votes each and the speaker, from the TDP, which supports Vajpayee, would have cast the decisive vote).

This implies that you were expecting the BSP to vote against you.

We had taken this possibility into account.

Given the one-vote margin, wasn't it a mistake to have raised any doubts you may have had about Orissa CM Giridhar Gomango's eligibility to vote after the Speaker put up the confidence motion for voting, making it virtually impossible for him to do anything about it even if he wanted to?

I had sent him a note at 10.30 am, before the session commenced, on the Gomango issue. And it was raised by the treasury benches as well. But the Speaker gave his ruling, which we accepted.

How does it feel to have come so close?

You can offer me your condolences. We gave it our best shot and our allies stood by us. There was not a single abstention from our side. The Opposition plan to split our allies did not succeed.

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