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No-confidence motion: Fence sitters in Parliament help govt in floor test

The BJD’s move is a classic reflection of Naveen Patnaik’s political style. He is a ferocious, even if understated political warrior, back in his home state.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2018 00:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
no confidence motion,no confidence motion against pm,constructive vote of no confidence
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) members walk out of the Lok Sabha during a debate on 'no-confidence motion' in the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi on July 20.(PTI Photo)

The stage was ready. The party’s lawmaker Pinaki Mishra was prepared to deliver a speech. But hours before the Friday’s debate in Parliament, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) boss Naveen Patnaik called his lieutenants in Delhi and told them to stay away from the debate on the no-confidence motion.

“Both the NDA and the UPA have not helped Odisha,” Patnaik told one of his senior colleagues, underlining a political line applicable to the upcoming assembly and Lok Sabha polls in Odisha as well, BJD members said on condition of anonymity.

As the BJD staged a walkout, the ruling National Democratic Alliance benches were assured of a higher margin of victory. Hours later, two other fence-sitters, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), aired their grievances against the Centre. AIADMK supported the Centre, but TRS was absent in the voting.

With 37 MPs, AIADMK is third largest party in the Lok Sabha after the BJP and Congress. BJD has 19 MPs.

AIADMK MP Ponnusamy Venugopal said Centre was handing out step-motherly treatment to Tamil Nadu, but thanked the Centre for instituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) on the sharing of Cauvery waters by states in the river basin .

Venugopal also said Tamil Nadu had seen a vast decline in aid from the Centre.

The MP claimed that the state had suffered the ‘highest erosion of tax share” from the Centre.

Vinod Kumar Boianapalli of the TRS took indirect swipes at the Telugu Desam Party, sponsor of the no-confidence motion and the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh, out of which Telangana was carved out in 2014. TDP wants Andhra to be given special status to make it eligible for special central grants.

“We are not concerned with their request regarding allocation of funds,” Bojanapalli said.

He also listed promises not fulfilled by the Centre under the Andhra Reorganisation Act.

The BJD’s move is a classic reflection of Naveen Patnaik’s political style. He is a ferocious, even if understated political warrior, back in his home state.

But he sees little point in getting entangled in political battles in Delhi, with limited electoral resonance in the state.

Its decision to stay away from the debate also indicates that for the upcoming election for the deputy chairman, there is no guarantee that the BJD will support an Opposition member.

The Biju Janata Dal’s hands-off approach was a setback to the opposition .

First Published: Jul 21, 2018 00:00 IST