No-confidence motion moved in Lok Sabha: BJD walks out, Shiv Sena boycotts
Top leaders of the two parties, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, will take part in the debate which will conclude with a reply from Prime Minister Narendra Modiindia Updated: Jul 20, 2018 13:00 IST
Minutes before the TDP’s Jayadev Galla moved a no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government, the Biju Janata Dal walked out of the Lok Sabha, stating that today’s discussion is irrelevant for Odisha, the state it rules. Not long after, the BJP’s oldest ally and the most disgruntled, the Shiv Sena said its 18 MPs were staying away both from the debate on the motion and a vote at the end of it.
Sena MP Anandrao Adsul telling news agency ANI, “Absolutely not. We haven’t even signed our attendance,” when asked if the party will debate and vote.
While the move allows the Shiv Sena to again record its sulk and embarrass the BJP, its decision and that of the BJD to walk out will help the government on numbers. Everyone agrees that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will sail through today, it’s an intense battle of optics, as the BJP-led government wants to demonstrate brute strength by defeating the no-confidence motion by two-thirds of the vote.
Tamil Nadu party AIADMK has decided to vote against the motion, the party MP V Maitreyan said, adding, “no-confidence motion is spearheaded by the Congress and DMK, so there’s no way the AIADMK will support it.”
The opposition, led by the Congress, too has reached out to parties seen as sitting on the fence in equally rigorous efforts to make it a lesser win for the government. Till hours before the debate, both sides were attempting to win over parties seen as sitting on the fence. Senior BJP leaders told Hindustan Times that the idea is to show that the ruling National Democratic Alliance that their party leads enjoys support across political boundaries.
Watch| No-confidence motion: How the numbers stack up for BJP, Opposition
The current strength of the Lok Sabha is 533 members, excluding the Speaker; 267 votes would defeat the motion and the two-thirds mark would be at 355, if all MPs voted. With the BJD’s 19 and the Shiv Sena’s 18 not voting, the effective strength of the house at noon was 496, with halfway at at 249 seats and the BJP’s two-thirds target at 330.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance has 312 MPs, brought down to 294 by the Shiv Sena boycott. The BJP also hopes that south parties the
The TRS will vote against the motion or at least abstain, helping bring its target down further.
Two members of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, a key opposition party, are not in Parliament – they are busy organizing a mega party rally to be held in Bengal on July 21. The Trinamool has 34 MPs.
The TDP was a BJP ally till earlier this year, but broke ties over the centre not accepting its demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh, the state the party rules. In his speech today, Jayadev Galla, a first time MP, called the Modi government “a saga of unkept promises.”
Ahead of the motion being moved, the Congress protested against time limits imposed on speeches by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who has said that the vote will be held at 6 pm. She also underscored that there will be no lunch break for the MPs.
Early this morning, hours before his government faced its first no-confidence motion, Prime Minister Modi urged members of Parliament to ensure a constructive and disruption-free debate.
“Today is an important day in our Parliamentary democracy. I am sure my fellow MP colleagues will rise to the occasion and ensure a constructive, comprehensive & disruption free debate. We owe this to the people & the makers of our Constitution. India will be watching us closely,” tweeted the Prime Minister. Just before Parliament convened for the day, PM Modi held a meeting with senior BJP leaders including party chief Amit Shah and union home minister Rajnath Singh, news agency ANI reported.
Today’s debate will feature speeches by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and will end with a reply by the Prime Minister. The government’s first response was made by the BJP’s Rakesh Singh.
The last time a no-confidence motion was voted on in Parliament was in 2003, when BJP icon Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA government easily defeated a no-confidence motion brought by the Congress’ Sonia Gandhi.
First Published: Jul 20, 2018 11:10 IST