Election Trivia – Which Chief Minister’s vote in Lok Sabha resulted in the fall of a Central Government?

Posted on December 11,2012

This may sound bizarre but it did happen once. Now, we do not expect a Chief Minister to sit in Lok Sabha and vote on any motion. But Giridhar Gamang has the rare distinction to vote in a Vote of Confidence motion while occupying the CM's chair in Bhubhaneshwar. The year was 1999. Jayalalitha had withdrawn support to Atal Bihari Vajpayee led NDA government at the centre. He was asked to prove the government's majority in the Lok Sabha. During the vote of confidence, treasury benches objected to the presence of Giridhar Gamang in the house. He was Congress Lok Sabha member from Koraput elected in 1998 general elections. However, in February 1999, he was appointed Chief Minister of Orissa. Any minister who is not a member of any house, has to become a member within six months of taking oath. Technically, Giridhar Gamang still had time to become member of Orissa Vidhan Sabha and was hence not required by law to resign from his Lok Sabha membership. However, the treasury benches insisted that a Chief Minister should be governing his state and not voting on any motion in Lok Sabha. They insisted that rules may favor Giridhar Gamang but this violated the spirit of our constitution. The speaker of the house GMC Balyogi however allowed Giridhar Gamang to vote because rules of the house favored him and this incident was unprecedented. When the rules were framed, no one probably had expected that something like this would happen and a Chief Minister would insist to vote on any motion in the house. NDA government lost that motion by one vote. Had Giridhar Gamang not voted, the motion would have ended in a tie and the speaker's vote would have been decisive. The speaker was from TDP, which was supporting NDA from outside. In all probability, the NDA government would have survived.