The Opposition’s No-Confidence Motion against the Narendra Modi government will come up in parliament today – in absence of the Prime Minister. Congress’s Rahul Gandhi, freshly reinstated in parliament, will open the debate, sources have said.
The BJP has called a meeting of its parliamentary party on Tuesday ahead of the no-confidence motion, which can be discussed, answered and voted on Wednesday and Thursday.
The motion, which has practically no chance of getting passed, is the Opposition’s circuitous manner of compelling the Prime Minister to speak on the ongoing violence in Manipur, which has dominated the monsoon session of parliament.
The session, which started on July 20, has been continually disrupted by Opposition protests. Only a few bills of the government’s long list have been passed.
The Opposition has been demanding a discussion on Manipur, dubbing it the burning issue of the day. The government has agreed, but made it clear that the Prime Minister will not address the House on the issue — which has been the Opposition’s big demand.
Five ministers will speak during the debate – Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kiren Rijiju. Five other BJP MPs will also participate in the debate.
The government has argued that after major violence took place in Manipur in 1993 and 1997, no statement was made in the Parliament in one case and in the other, the junior home minister had given a statement. Sources said the government’s stance is that in absence of a precedent, there is no cause for asking for the Prime Minister’s statement.
The opposition contends that in view of the 170-plus deaths, injuries and displacements of thousands of people since the ethnic violence broke out in May, there is nothing more urgent that can demand the Prime Minister’s attention.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during a discussion on the Delhi Services bill today, accused the Opposition of running away from a debate on Manipur. “The question is Manipur situation and what steps the government is taking there, not a show of strength by voting. If you want voting, I dare you to make this bill fall through voting,” Mr Shah said.
In 2018, PM Modi had faced a no-confidence motion moved by Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party. The motion was defeated, with the government getting 325 votes. Only 126 votes were in favour of the motion.
This time, against the current strength of 570 in the Lok Sabha and a majority mark of 270, the NDA can expect 332 votes. Besides, Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal and Andhra Pradesh’s YSR Congress are supporting the NDA. Together, they have 34 MPs, taking the government’s numbers to 366. The united Opposition INDIA has only 142 members.
With inputs from NDTV