Published On: Mon, Mar 19th, 2018

No-confidence motion not taken up, stalemate enters 3rd week

New Delhi: A no-confidence motion tabled by arch rivals TDP and YSR Congress against the Modi government was not taken up in the Lok Sabha on Monday as the Parliament logjam entered its third week amid no signs of thaw between the opposition and the government.

Please go back to your seats. If the House is not in order I will not bring the notices

After the House was adjourned for an hour and when it met again at 12 noon, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan sought to put the notices of the motion for leave of the House so that a discussion can be initiated. At least 50 members should back the motion for it to be admitted.

But like it has been happening for the last two weeks, AIADMK and TRS members raised slogans and walked to her podium shouting slogans in support of their demands, creating a din.

Several opposition parties including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, AIMIM and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) have expressed their support for the notices.

The Speaker called the members to stand up up so that the numbers could be counted to see how many supported it.

But with members from the TRS and AIADMK holding placards and surrounding the Speaker’s dais, Mahajan said she could not count the members who were standing.

“Please go back to your seats. If the House is not in order I will not bring the notices,” she said, before adjourning the House for the day.

Minutes before Mahajan made her comments, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the government was ready to face the motion.

“We are ready for any discussion… We are also ready for a discussion on the no-confidence motion. I appeal to all political parties to cooperate,” Rajnath Singh pleaded.

Earlier, the Lower House started with disruptions and was adjourned till noon within a couple of minutes amid noisy protests by AIADMK and TRS members.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters before the House met that the government had the numbers to defeat the motion.

“We are ready to face the no-confidence motion as we have support in the House. We are confident.”

Telugu Desam Party MP RM Naidu said they were trying to gather as much support as possible from all the opposition parties in Parliament knowing fully that the motion would fall because the government has enough numbers.

He said the TDP was looking for a debate in the House on how the government was functioning.

“It’s the responsibility of all the parties to support us. We are trying to gather as much support as possible so a debate happens. We are not trying to make the government fall,” Naidu said.

At present, the Lok Sabha has 539 members. The BJP has 273 — more than the half-way mark of 270. The BJP also has the support of several allies like the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal.

But the Shiv Sena has said it would abstain. “We will support neither the government nor the Opposition,” Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant said.

Meanwhile, TDP MPs protested in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Parliament, demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh. They were joined by Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury.

The Rajya Sabha was also adjourned for the day within minutes amid protests by TDP MPs.

The first two weeks of the last phase of the Budget session have been virtually washed out due to opposition protests. The government has, however, managed to get some key bills and the budget passed amid the din through a voice vote without a debate.

The protests have been over wide ranging issues, including the Punjab National Bank fraud, special category status for Andhra Pradesh, and constitution of Cauvery management board to solve water sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

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