In a surprise development, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Wednesday accepted a no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition against the Centre’s Narendra Modi government. Mahajan also said that the discussion and voting on it will take place on Friday even though Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharg said that the Speaker could consider the discussion within the next 10 days.
Mahajan readily accepting the motion left the opposition parties, particularly Trinamool Congress, which has 34 MPs in Lok Sabha, surprised. Trinamool was reportedly in favour of Mahajan choosing a later date. Trinamool Congress member Dinesh Trivedi urged her to change the date, saying the party MPs will attend the Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata on 21 July and would not be able to take part in the debate on 20 July.
The Speaker, however, refused to postpone the date and said that the Question hour will be suspended on Friday.
Later West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool chief, Mamata Banerjee, ordered her Lok Sabha MPs to stay put in Delhi and support Friday’s no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government. The party, which has the second highest number of MPs in the parliament after the Congress, also issued a whip to all its MPS to be present in the House during the discussions.
According to Mahajan, Kesineni Srinavas of the Telugu Desam Party was the first to give his no-confidence notice and asked him to move the motion supported by over 50 members, including those from Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party and CPI-M. Mahajan said the notice had been accepted.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anath Kumar sounded confident that the no confidence motion moved by the Opposition will be defeated. “Everything will be clear after the discussion. I want to make it clear in the House that the people have full confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government,” Kumar was quoted by IANS.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, who had also given a notice for no-confidence motion, told the Speaker that she should have “taken together all notices at a time.” Mahajan said she had followed the rules. Apart from Kharge and Srinivas, the notices for no-confidence were given by K.C. Venugopal (Congress), Tariq Anwar (Nationalist Congress Party), NK Premachandran (Revolutionary Socialist Party) and Thota Narsimham (TDP).
Opposition parties had made a desperate attempt to move in a no confidence motion against the Modi government in the budgest session too, but it could not be taken up. The reason for the no-confidence motion is because of the depleting number of MPs in the BJP, which has successively lost almost all Lok Sabha bypolls since winning a historic mandate in 2014.
The opposition parties hope to build on the simmering anger within the BJP against Modi and his style of functioning to embarrass him ahead of the next year’s Lok Sabha polls. However, analysts feel that the BJP will be able to sail through with the help of other like-minded parties.