New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has accepted a no-confidence motion moved against the Narendra Modi government by the Opposition. “I will discuss with the leaders of all parties and inform you (the Opposition) of an appropriate time to take this up for discussion,” Birla said Wednesday.
The notice for the motion was filed by Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi and supported by all constituents of the INDIA bloc who wield a collective strength of 144 MPs in the Lok Sabha. In addition, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) of Telangana CM KCR also supported the motion proposed by Gogoi, who is the Congress party’s deputy leader in the Lower House.
Nama Nageswara Rao, the floor leader of the BRS in the Lok Sabha, had moved a separate motion of no-confidence against the government Wednesday morning.
The BRS, though opposed to the BJP, has refused to join the INDIA bloc until now owing to differences with the Congress, which is its principal opposition in poll-bound Telangana. The KCR-led party, however, has sided with the Opposition in terms of its Parliamentary floor strategy. Earlier this week, the party joined the Opposition in staging a walkout over the government’s refusal to entertain a long-duration discussion on the situation in Manipur.
A motion of no-confidence against the government can be moved by any member of the House given that it has the support of at least 50 MPs. Once admitted, the Speaker then has 10 days to fix a date and time for the motion to be debated on the floor of the House.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Congress MP Pramod Tiwari invoked Article 75 of the Constitution to argue that the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers bear collective responsibility for the House.
“At the same time, the Constitution of India is clear. A no-confidence motion can only be moved in the Lok Sabha and not the Rajya Sabha. Those who don’t understand this, they think that a no-confidence motion is only introduced to bring down the government and that if it fails, the government wins. But that’s not the only reason,” said Tiwari.
He added that the move gives the Opposition an opportunity to discuss the shortcomings of the government. “The government and the Opposition get equal opportunity to speak. This is democracy. The motive is that we get to speak on the (government’s) failures and matters related to national security, besides inflation and unemployment,” he added.
Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh said all constituents of the 26-member INDIA bloc made a unanimous decision to move a no-confidence motion against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.
“The government, (Union) home minister and defence minister are saying that they’re ready for a discussion in the House, but they are not ensuring the atmosphere for it. The PM is not coming to the House and sitting every day in his chamber, meeting the media and addressing BJP parliamentary party meetings,” Suresh told reporters.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, said it was ready for “every situation”.
“Let them file a no-confidence motion. The government is ready to deal with any situation. Before Parliament went into session, they put forward a demand for a discussion on the Manipur situation. When we agreed to the discussion, they brought up rules and other issues to stall proceedings in Parliament. When we reached an agreement on the rules, they put forward another demand asking that the PM issue a statement in Parliament. These are merely excuses,” said Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the “people have confidence in PM Modi and the BJP”. He added that the Opposition brought a similar motion of no-confidence ahead of the 2019 general election “and the people taught them a lesson”.
The Opposition has been demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi address Parliament on the ethnic violence that has enveloped Manipur since 3 May.
Earlier this week, multiple Opposition leaders including Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge — who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha — moved suspension of business notices under Rule 267 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States, which provides for a detailed discussion on a particular issue and the suspension of all listed legislative business for the day.
The government, while agreeing to the demand, insisted that the discussion on the situation in Manipur be held under Rule 176 instead, which provides for a short-term discussion on a particular issue not exceeding 150 minutes.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)