(G.N.S) Dt. 17
The motion that brought down the first National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is again being brought to trouble it. One of the most dramatic no-confidence motions in Indian parliament was against the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government which had to go for want of just one vote in 1999. The YSR Congress has proposed a no-confidence motion against the NDA government on the issue of granting special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the NDA ally that has stormed out of the ruling alliance, has declared support for such a motion along with several other opposition parties. The motion will be the first such move during the tenure of this NDA government.
According to reliable sources, current NDA government has total 271 seats. Out of them about 40 MPs are being to said as senior BJP leader L. K. Advani’s supporters. Shatrughan Sinha and Kirti Azad may take leadership of those 40 dissatisfied MPs and can join no-trust motion. If this step become reality, then Modi government will might be in big trouble.
An overwhelming majority of opposition parties have extended tactical support to the Andhra Pradesh rivals YSR Congress and TDP, who are together pushing for a no-confidence motion against the Modi government over the non-implementation of the promised special category status for the post-bifurcation Andhra Pradesh.
Even Congress — which has no love lost for the YSR Congress and TDP, the two parties that have reduced the Grand Old Party to a corner in its once political fortress of Andhra Pradesh — was more vociferous than others in extending support to the move for a no-confidence motion.
Although the opposition parties are fully aware of the Modi government’s numerical strength in the House, they have readied a three-pronged strategy.
First, they want to encourage and revel in the spectacle of, BJP’s biggest southern ally, TDP, and the establishment’s hitherto hidden tactical supporter, YSR Congress, making a public show of turning hostile to BJP and Modi regime, something that helps other opposition parties project the Modi regime as losing the confidence of its own once-friendly parties.
Second, even as the opposition parties know that both TDP and the YSR Congress are dictated by their compulsions back home and that both are staging a “drama” of sorts in Parliament, other opposition parties still want to play on.
Their calculation is that in the event of the government being forced to admit the no-trust motion and live telecast of the debate for a couple of days, the opposition parties would get what the government has been denying them in Parliament so far — an opportunity to convert the debate into an all-round critique of the Modi government’s performance on issues, including the Punjab National Bank scam and the Rafale deal.
Third, the opposition parties seem to have calculated that in the extreme parties would go to town saying that the government was “unsure of majority in the Lok Sabha and thus run away from Parliament”.
“We have been supporting special category status for AP since the beginning. We want the people of AP to get justice. When no-confidence motion is moved you have to talk (in the House debate) about the government’s failures. So, we are contacting a lot of people (to mobilise support for the motion),” said Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
By extending their support, the opposition parties have ensured that the 16-member TDP and YSR Congress, which has effective strength of just five MPs, will not be left short of the required support of a minimum support of 50 MPs to get their no-trust motion admitted. Besides, in the event of the government going to the extreme of stone-walling the admission of motion, the Congress can also question the “effectiveness” of TYSRC-TDP resolve and force them to the next stage of making their MPs resign.
Sitaram Yechury of CPM, a party that opposed the bifurcation of AP, tactically tweeted; “CPM supports the no-confidence motion being brought against the BJP government.
Its betrayal of the promise of special status for Andhra Pradesh is inexcusable. Its all-round failure and evasion of parliamentary accountability needs to be highlighted.”
NCP leader Tariq Anwar said, “The NCP is fully backing the move. The government, if it is confident of answering our questions and taking a vote, must admit the motion.”
Biju Janata Dal, usually a “neutral party”, is also now weighing its options.
Many in the party feel that with the possibility of elections advancing, it may not be politically correct not be seen along with the rest of the opposition’s move against the BJP and Modi regime. Some feel that other “uneasy allies” such as the Shiv Sena may also use the possibility of a floor debate to air their critique of the regime, something that could embarrass the government. The Maharashtra CM rushing to the Sena chief is being seen as a sign of heat being turned on.
Trinamaool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who is eyeing regional parties for a “federal front” tweeted, “I welcome the TDP’s decision to leave the NDA. The current situation warrants such action to save the country from disaster.”
Whatever the government’s counter plan, the opposition camp appears to have seized the opportunity. Although various opposition parties decided to support the motion, it may not really harm the government. The support of all these parties for the motion means it will be admitted as it will have the support of at least 50 Members of Parliament in the House, which is a minimum requirement. Though the NDA enjoys majority in Lok Sabha and runs no risk of being toppled by such a motion, the motion has the potential to embarrass it as the issue of granting special-category status to Andhra Pradesh will be debated at length by various leaders. The issue will hog headlines for several days and will impact the BJP’s image. It can also encourage other NDA allies to raise contentious regional issues and increase disaffection within the alliance. Less than an year before the the next Lok Sabha elections, allies turning hostile will be bad optics for the NDA. It will also impact Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image of a leader that has confidence of several regional parties.