Lok Sabha begins no-confidence motion against Modi govt
The Lok Sabha, the lower House of Indian parliament, today began a debate on the first no-confidence motion sponsored by the opposition against the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi-led ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected to have a smooth sailing in the trial of strength. However, all eyes are on the stance to be adopted by the regional parties outside the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, such as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (AIADMK ) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD), in the voting on the motion that is likely to set the agenda for fresh parliamentary polls due early next year.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has said that the debate will continue through the day followed by voting, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Though the numbers are heavily stacked against the opposition, the Congress and other parties have indicated they are keen to utilise the debate to attack the government on a range of issues including farm distress, slow economic growth and rising incidents of mob lynching and cow vigilantism.
The BJP, on the other hand, seems assured of the support of 313 members in the 534-strong Lok Sabha as the saffron party looks to expand support from AIADMK, which rules southern state of Tamil Nadu and BJD, the governing party in eastern state of Odisha, in a bid to weaken the anti-BJP front.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has 313 members including 274 (including the Speaker) of BJP, 18 of Shiv Sena, six of Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP and four from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The majority mark in the House is 268. There are 11 vacancies.
AIADMK has 37 MPs and its abstention during voting is also not being ruled out while BJD, which has 19 lawmakers, said it will reveal its stance on the motion on the floor of the House later today.
All the key parties including the BJP and the Congress have issued whips to ensure the presence of all its members in the House.
Modi will reply to the debate on the no-confidence motion while the Congress party's attack on the Modi government will be led by its President Rahul Gandhi.
Today's no-confidence motion is the 27th in Indian parliamentary history and the first to be admitted in 15 years. The previous such motion was moved by Congress against the then BJP government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee but was defeated.