TDP quits NDA, moves no-confidence motion against Modi govt; Oppn lends support
TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu tells state assembly the move is “not for selfish reasons” but for Andhra Pradesh. The BJP, meanwhile, is confident it has the numbers to ride out the crisis in Parliament.india Updated: Mar 16, 2018 23:10 IST
Triggering a day of intense political developments, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) pulled out of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA)on Friday morning over its unmet demand for special category status for Andhra Pradesh. It also gave notice of a no-confidence motion against the government in the Lok Sabha.
The TDP’s political rival in Andhra Pradesh, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), had on Thursday evening given notice of a no-confidence motion to the Speaker’s office over the same issue. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, however, did not admit either notice, citing lack of “order”, with the house getting adjourned until Monday.
The N Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP’s withdrawal energised the opposition, with several political parties saying they would support the party’s motion. The government is skeptical that the motion would get to the stage of being admitted at all, but is confident that even if it does, it has the numbers for a comfortable victory. The BJP on its own has 274 members in the 539-strong House.
Shortly after noon, speaker Mahajan announced that she had received separate notices of the motions from lawmakers YV Subbareddy (Leader in the Lok Sabha of the YSRCP) and Thota Narasimhan of the TDP.
“We go according to principles. Our leader felt being part of NDA and moving a no-confidence motion would not be ethical. So we withdrew from the NDA and I have issued a letter on no-confidence motion to the Speaker at 9.30 am,” Narasimhan, the TDP’s floor leader in the Lok Sabha, told reporters shortly after submitting the notice to the speaker.
The no-confidence motion notice requires the support of 50 MPs in the house.
Leaders from the Congress hinted they would support the motion against the government.
“We have been supporting special category status for Andhra Pradesh since the beginning. We want that people of Andhra get justice. When a no-confidence motion is moved you have to talk about government failures,” senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge told the news agency ANI.
West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee welcomed TDP’s decision to withdraw from the NDA. The Communist Party of India-Marxist’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury also tweeted, “(The) CPI-M supports the no-confidence motion brought against the BJP government. Its betrayal of the promise of special status for Andhra Pradesh is inexcusable. Its all-round failure and evasion of parliamentary accountability needs to be highlighted.”
But in Parliament, with members of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi protesting and shouting slogans in the well of the House, the speaker cited “lack of order” to adjourn the house.
This triggered a blame-game between the government and the opposition. Union parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said, “We have always told the opposition, please cooperate in running the House to discuss banking irregularities and each and every issue, including confidence or no-confidence motion.” Congress leader and the party’s chief whip in Lok Sabha, Jyotiraditya Scindia, tweeted, “The brazen manner in which this government has passed bills in Parliament but refused to admit a legitimate no-confidence motion despite adequate signatures and numbers is a travesty of democracy.”
Both TDP and YSRCP have said their parties would persist with the motion on Monday, when the House reconvenes.
BJP leaders aren’t worried. “All the opposition parties have their own agenda. The din in the house will continue on Monday too. And if there is no order, the Speaker won’t be able to admit the motion,” a key party functionary said on condition of anonymity, signalling his party’s strategy to deal with the issue.