No question mark over my vote against Vajpayee: Gamang

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BHUBANESWAR: Former chief minister Giridhar Gamang whose vote in the trust motion sought by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government on April 17, 1999 had raised questions, on Friday said he is tired of explaining people that he committed no wrong in participating in the vote.
As a Congress MP, Gamang had voted against the motion though he had already become Odisha chief minister by then. Since the Vajpayee-led NDA government lost the motion by single vote (269-270), resulting in mid-term elections in the country, questions were raised time and again on whether Gamang should have participated in the vote since he had become CM by then though he was yet to resign from Lok Sabha.

Even as Gamang participated in the funeral procession of Vajpayee on Friday, the former parliamentarian, who was elected to Lok Sabha for nine times, said, “Vajpayee’s death is an irreparable loss and is painful to the entire country. But my vote against him in the trust move was never questionable. Those questioning it should know the laws and norms better.”

“I was a Congress MP. My party whip is binding on me. I had no choice and reason not to obey my party’s diktat to vote against the motion. So, there is no reason to question my vote against the NDA government then. I rightly acted like a disciplined worker of my party,” Gamang told TOI over phone from Delhi.

Reminding that Saifuddin Soz, who was then a member of NDA-constituent National Conference went against his party whip and voted against Vajpayee, 75-year-old Gamang said, “My vote was never controversial.”

“Vajpayee as a PM, however, was among the best the country had,” Gamang said. “After the no-trust defeat in 1999, his government fell. In the election that followed, Vajpayee again came to power. Days after he became PM, Odisha faced the super-cyclone in October that year. I was CM. Vajpayee never had political consideration in mind while giving out central assistance to the state then. He had only humanitarian thought He never made me feel about my so-called vote against him while dealing with me as a PM,” Gamang recalled.

Gamang said those who questioned his votes did so for reaping political benefits. “The fact that I was embraced by BJP later on shows that the party kows it well that I did not commit any mistake,” the former CM said.

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