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A con job

india Updated: Jul 21, 2008 00:12 IST

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That’s a nasty thing to do — putting a picture of Parliament and running a headline that says it’s a con job! Have you no shame?

Hang on. Where have I said anything nasty about Parliament? I’m just referring to the job at hand for parliamentarians on Tuesday — a vote of confidence. You do know that the word ‘con’ is an abbreviation of confidence?

Is that so? I thought ‘con’ was a scam, a swindle.

Only when in the context of ‘confidence trick’ or ‘confidence artist’. Here I’m referring to the trust vote, the confidence vote that the Prime Minister has tabled in Parliament for Tuesday.

Hmm. You sound convincing, but what happens if his government loses the vote of confidence?
The end of the world. Apocalypse. No, just kidding. He’ll be then expected to step down. Elections could follow.

Oh, how’s the track record of past votes of confidence been?
Well, quite good actually. Prime Minister V.P. Singh won his vote of confidence in 1989, as did Chandrashekhar a year later. P.V. Narasimha Rao won twice, in 1991 and 1993. Even H.D. Deve Gowda and I.K. Gujral won confidence votes in 1996 and 1997. And Atal Bihari Vajpayee went on a winning spree in 1998.

But there’s a solemn tone to your voice. There is a ‘but’, isn’t there?
Well, V.P. Singh did lose a trust vote in 1990 as did Deve Gowda in 1997.

Oh dear. I can understand an MP tabling a no-confidence motion against a government. But why would a PM table a confidence motion?
To prove that the majority of the House is with him. Or, as in this case, to prove that a particular strategic decision he has taken has enough support among MPs.

You think Manmohan will make it on Tuesday?
You think Javed Miandad knew that he would hit a last ball six in 1986 at Sharjah?

But is Manmohan Miandad or Chetan Sharma?
Watch this space.

Don’t say: Confident? Lock kar diya jaye?

Do say: Who needs the satta bazaar when there’s Parliament.

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