Amid the continuing logjam gripping both Houses of Parliament for two weeks, Andhra parties ~ TDP and YSRCP ~ moved the notices of no-confidence motion in the Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers in the Lok Sabha on Friday in protest against the BJP-led NDA government’s failure in granting special category status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh as assured to the state by the Centre during its bifurcation in early 2014.
The TDP ended its four-year-old alliance with the BJP this morning, with the party’s president and Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu announcing in Amravati its decision to walk out of the NDA ~ barely a week after two of their Union Ministers, Ashok Gajapati Raju and Y S Chowdary, quit the Modi government on the SCS issue.
The TDP followed it up by tabling a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, which was earlier also tabled by Naidu’s arch rival Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP on the same issue.
These notices, moved by the YSR Congress MP Y V Subba Reddy and the TDP’s Thota Narasimham, were however not taken up as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said there was no order in the House. She then adjourned the House for the day just after noon amid din and protests.
This was the first time since the Modi government assumed office in May 2014 that it is facing a no-confidence bid in the Lok Sabha, with the TDP and YSRCP ~ backed by the Congress, Left and other Oposition parties ~ expected to carry on with the move until it is taken up by the House in coming days.
Not surprisingly, the Andhra parties’ move seemed to have heated up national politics, even as the Modi government exuded confidence about its comfortable majority number.
As the Lok Sabha met at noon after its morning adjournment amid ruckus by various Opposition parties on a number of issues, Speaker Mahajan said she had received notices of motion of no-confidence in the Council of Ministers from Subba Reddy and Narasimham.
“I am duty-bound to bring the notices before the House. Unless the House is in order, I will not be in a position to count the 50 members who have to stand in their assigned places so that I can ascertain as to whether the leave has been granted or not,” the Speaker said, asking the members protesting in the Well to go back to their seats.
The TRS and AIADMK members were then in the Well, holding placards and shouting slogans. “Since the House is not in order, I will not be able to bring the notices before the House,” the Speaker said and adjourned the House till Monday morning.
While the TDP has 16 MPs in the Lok Sabha, the YSR Congress has nine. They have stepped up their attempts to get the support of at least 50 MPs to back their no-confidence motion, planning to move it next week.
The Congress and Left leaders reportedly asserted that they would support the no-confidence motion against the Modi government.
The Congress party’s Lok Sabha leader Mallikarjun Kharge said every Opposition party should support this motion, but asked the TDP and YSR Congress “not to play politics”. He also said the proposed no-confidence motion would highlight the “failures” of the Modi government not only on “one issue” but on “all fronts”.
“When the Andhra parties bring a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, we will support it,” CPI-M MP Mohammad Salim said.
The BJP and the government rejected the Opposition’s move, maintaining that they do not anticipate any problems in dealing with it.
With the BJP alone having 274 members in the 540-member Lok Sabha and still enjoying the support of several allies, the no-confidence motion, if accepted, is not likely to succeed.
The Opposition leaders, however, said it would be “politically and symbolically significant” by putting the Modi-led BJP in a tight corner in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections next year.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the whole country and the House have “full confidence” in the Prime Minister Modi. “The government has the numbers…We are ready to take up everything,” he said. An unfazed BJP claimed that it saw the development on expected lines ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Slamming the TDP for quitting the NDA over the SCS matter, BJP spokesman G V L Narasimha Rao said, “We believe TDP’s going is tough in Andhra Pradesh. They are seeing a defeat for themselves in 2019 and they want to use this as an alibi to really retrieve their lost political ground.”