Hyderabad: As many as 16 Congress MLAs, backing YSR Congress leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, cross-voted in favour of the no-confidence motion against Kiran Reddy government which survived because of the support from PRP and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen.
   
On the face of it, it was a victory for the government in the wee hours of Tuesday. But in reality, the Congress on its own has been reduced to a minority in the 294-member Andhra Pradesh Assembly as its numbers have fallen to 137, 11 short of the magic figure of 148.
   
But for the support of the 17-member Praja Rajyam Party, which continues to be a separate group inside the House despite its merger with the Congress, and the seven-member Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, the government wouldn’t have survived the trial of strength.
   
In 2009, the Congress won 156 seats and had the support of three independent members as 'associates'. First, Y S Vijaya, widow of late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, walked out of the Congress in November 2009.
   
Next, two MLAs from Telangana quit Congress and joined Telangana Rashtra Samiti after resigning from their posts. One of its associate members also deserted the ruling party last month on the Telangana issue while another died.    

That brought down the Congress head count to 153. And, only one independent member remained its associate.     Now, 16 MLAs cross-voted, defying the Congress whip, in favour of the no-confidence motion. These 16 owe their allegiance to Jaganmohan Reddy and have been sailing with him for some time now.
   
That left the ruling party without only 137 MLAs, way short of the half-way mark. Even if the current strength of the House – 287 – is taken into account, the Congress will still be short of seven members as it requires 144 for a simple majority.

Congress wins no-trust motion in Andhra

The Opposition sponsored no-confidence motion against the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh was defeated by a huge margin in the state assembly late on Monday night.

After over a 16-hour-long debate on the motion moved by Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the house voted on the motion after 1 am. While 122 members supported the motion, 160 opposed it and there was one neutral. Five members were absent during the voting.

Though 16 Congress legislators loyal to YSR Congress party leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy violated the whip to vote in favour of the motion, it was not enough to defeat the government.
The ruling party has 153 members in 295-member house. The magic figure required to defeat the motion was 143 as there are seven vacancies in the house.

In addition to ruling party's 136 members, 17 out of 18 legislators of Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) and all seven members of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) opposed the motion.

All 85 members of TDP, 12 of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), four of CPI, two of BJP, one each of CPI-M, YSR Congress party and independent voted for the motion.

Though YSR Congress party's honorary president Vijayamma had reached the assembly in the morning with 18 Congress rebels, the number dwindled to 16 by the time of the voting. Suspense over the actual strength of Jagan group continued till the last minute as Congress leaders made all out efforts to win back rebels.

Announcing the defeat of the motion, Speaker N Manohar adjourned the house sine die.

On the last day of the five-day winter session, the house debated the motion for over 16 hours.The debate was marred by not just heated exchanges between treasury and opposition benches but also by the allegations and counter allegations among the parties supporting the motion.

(Agencies)