A no-confidence motion that brought down the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government by just one vote in 1999 on Friday once again came to haunt the Modi government, though it may survive by virtue of having a thumping majority in the Lok Sabha.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) stormed out of the ruling alliance and fired a no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha in the morning in the Andhra Pradesh competitive politics, a day after rival YSR Congress Party gave a similar notice. Both are agitating for denial of a special status to Andhra Pradesh to compensate its losses from bifurcation of the state in 2014.
Notices of both parties were mentioned by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan who felt unable to count the mandatory support of 50 members citing ruckus in the House and adjourned it for Monday. It was the 10th day of the washout of the business in both Houses of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha due to pandemonium. The two notices, however, remain on board as not disposed of, unlike the adjournment notices lapsing and they will haunt the Modi government again on Monday, particularly because Congress, Trinamool Congress, AIADMK and Biju Janata Dal sought to support the first-ever no-confidence motion in the past four years against the government.
The motion is bound to be discussed on Monday, once admitted, though the government exuded confidence to survive without any difficulty since the BJP on its own has a majority in the House with 274 members besides support of some 60 from a host of allies. Nobody, however, knows for sure if some try to take revenge on Modi for reducing them to be totally powerless.
The two Andhra Parties on their own did not have 50 members to get the motion admitted for discussion as TDP has 16 MPs and YSR Congress Party of Jagan Reddy has just 9 MPs, but they were bolstered by support of over half a dozen opposition parties to make up this deficit and force a discussion, possibly now on Monday. The parties that offered to back the motion include Congress having 48 MPs, Trinamool Congress (34), AIADMK (37), Biju Janata Dal (20), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (11), Samajwadi Party (7) and Nationalist Congress Party (6).
The no-confidence notice gets priority over all business and taken up immediately, but the Speaker first tried to carry on the Question Hour but adjourned it due to the usual ruckus and at noon dismissed all adjournment motions and allowed paying of papers by ministers and committee reports before declaring that she had received two no-confidence notices from YSR Cong’s YV Subba Reddy and TDP’s Thota Narasimham.
The day began in the Lok Sabha with three new members elected on Wednesday taking oath–Samajwadi Party’s Pravin Kumar Nishad and Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel from Uttar Pradesh and Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Sarfaraz Alam from Bihar. All Samajwadi Party members turned up donning the party’s red cap and likewise did nine Rajya Sabha members who gathered in the gallery to greet their two members for defeating BJP in its strongholds.
The swearing-in was followed by the obituary references by the Speaker for three former members and renowned British cosmologist Professor Stephen Hawking. She also greeted members on the new Vikram Samvat 2075 year starting on Sunday before calling the Question Hour and then adjourning to 12 noon due to disruptions.
In Rajya Sabha, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu first adjourned up to 12 noon instead of the usual adjournment to 2 pm, but he had to further adjourn the House to 2.30 pm for the private members business, which ultimately could not be taken up due to ruckus as the deputy chairman adjourned the House for Monday.
For 10 minutes there were heated exchanges between Congress and the ruling BJP benches when former TDP Minister YS Chowdhary insisted on completing the statement that he could not finish on Thursday. He talked of a “unscientifically prepared Bill” for Andhra Pradesh bifurcation that was passed in the din in 2014.