Of the eleven times a Prime Minister has chosen to seek a trust vote in the House, six times it proved lucky for the government side. Crunching numbers for survival, the UPA government can take heart from this bit of parliamentary records.
Besides his war cry lifted from Gurbani, Manmohan Singh can draw comfort from the 60:40 — albeit marginal — edge provided by history as he prepares for the July 22 floor test. The Congress can take solace from one more fact: it has not been defeated in any confidence or no-confidence motion so far.
The motions adopted by the House were moved by VP Singh on December 21, 1989, Chandra Shekhar on November 16, 1990, PV Narasimha Rao on July 12, 1991, HD Deve Gowda on June 11, 1996, IK Gujral on April 22, 1997 and Atal Bihari Vajpayee on March 27, 1998. Of them, those moved by VP Singh on November 7, 1990, Deve Gowda on April 11, 1997 and Vajpayee on April 17, 1999 were defeated. Vajpayee’s motion was defeated just by one vote — 269 ayes and 270 nays.
The motion, listed on August 20, 1979, was not moved as then Prime Minister Charan Singh tendered his resignation rather than facing the House. In the 11th Lok Sabha, the motion, though discussed for two days on May 27 and 28, 1996, was not put to vote as Vajpayee chose to resign rather than seek a division.
But, the records show, the no-confidence motions have been moved 26 times so far. Indira Gandhi faced 15 no-confidence motions — a record so far — followed by Lal Bahadur Shastri and Narasimha Rao (thrice), Morarji Desai (twice) and Jawahar Lal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi and Vajpayee (once each).
All the no-confidence motions moved in the Lok Sabha since 1952 were defeated except once when Prime Minister Morarji Desai resigned during the discussions on July 12, 1979.
The no-confidence motion, the first in the Indian Parliament, against Nehru, was moved by JB Kripalani on August 19, 1963, and was defeated by a huge margin of 285 votes.
The discussions on the no-confidence motion moved by NC Chatterjee, father of Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, against Lal Bahadur Shastri in the House on September 11, 1964 lasted for over six days.