Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee is unlikely to find the support of 50 Lok Sabha members necessary to move a no-confidence motion because other opposition parties are not warming up to the idea. The BJP and Left are keener to force a Parliament vote on foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail because they expect it to divide the coalition UPA government.
The winter session of Parliament will start on November 22 and UPA managers have turned their focus on avoiding a vote on the opposition-sponsored discussion on FDI.
“This is a peculiar situation in the history of Parliament that a 19-member party is talking of a no-confidence motion,” information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said. Commerce minister Anand Sharma has already ruled out a vote on FDI.
While the UPA has secured assurances from key partners such as the DMK, SP and BSP that they would oppose any no-trust motion, these parties are non-committal on bailing out the government on the FDI issue.
The Left and the BJP are of the view that pushing the no-confidence motion will unite the UPA and its supporters, and therefore, they want to stress on debates and voting on economic issues, particularly FDI.
“A no-confidence motion will only help the government cover up all wrong measures it has taken and claim parliamentary mandate because it has the numbers to defeat such a motion,” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said.
The BJP and the NDA will meet on Tuesday to finalise strategy for the session, including the no-confidence motion, but sources said they are not keen to follow Banerjee’s hard line.
"We will take a decision on the issue tomorrow (Tuesday)," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
Sensing that the main battle will be on FDI and economic policies, government managers are reaching out to partners. Finance minister P Chidambaram met DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi and other Congress interlocutors are in touch with the SP and BSP. While SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav expressed his reservations on supporting FDI, Karunanidhi is yet to take a call on the issue.
The DMK patriarch had reportedly pointed out that the large trader-base in southern Tamil Nadu is sceptical about FDI.
With support not forthcoming, the UPA is unlikely to relent under the opposition's pressure to discuss FDI under rule 184 in Lok Sabha.