His bravado aside, Lalu Prasad appears to have failed to control dissent among his own. RJD vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad skipped voting; he is learnt to have made his objections to FDI clear to Lalu. RJD sources said this was after Lalu had informed Singh about the Prime Minister’s appeal for support and sought to take him on board. As the time for voting approached, Lalu went twice to the backbenches to ask his two other MPs about Raguvansh, before giving up.
Also absent was Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who has withdrawn his support to the UPA. Former PM H D Deve Gowda voted against the government though his party supports the coalition from outside, while his party’s other two members were absent. So was Trinamool rebel Kabir Suman.
The BJP avoided large-scale defiance from the supporters of B S Yeddyurappa. One BJP absentee was senior leader Dileep Singh Judeo, apparently indisposed, while J Shantha could not vote because of restrictions from court, sources said.
Also absent were the YSR Congress’s MR Reddy and Jaganmohan Reddy, and Independent Madhu Koda.