Special Report

No-Confidence Motion: The debate and its aftermath

No-Confidence Motion: The debate and its aftermath

What did we gain from the 12-hour debate on the No-Trust Motion, if anything at all? To begin with, if the debate helps to normalise the functioning of Parliament sans the daily shouting matches, defiance of the Chair, forced adjournments et al, it would be no small achievement. Whether it comes true, we will know in the remaining part of the monsoon session. The debate also spotlighted the fault lines among the potential partners who together are supposed to constitute the Mahagathbandhan against Modi in 2019. The mover of the motion, the TDP, is unlikely to get in bed with the Congress for a) it has nothing to offer on the ground in Andhra Pradesh, b) the TDP holds the Congress a greater culprit for carving up the united Andhra Pradesh.

Likewise, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) can have little or no use accommodating the Congress since it has no presence in the State. Though it stayed neutral in the debate on Saturday, TRS’s need to keep on the right side of the central government would ensure that it is not covertly hostile towards the BJP. However, one BJP ally which stayed away was the Shiv Sena. Well, in its present suicidal mood it can be left to play its crude games which can only leave its current and potential allies cold. Behaving like sore losers, the Sena seeks a better price from the BJP, nothing else. If the BJP leadership is un-bothered, it is unlikely the Congress and the NCP will give it much ‘bhav’ should it find itself stranded on the eve of the next parliamentary poll. If the BJP proved the credibility of its alliance, defeating the motion 325 to 126 on Saturday, it was essentially because it had a solid 270-plus of its own. The AIADMK voted with the Government, as it would with any in power in New Delhi to protect its interests, especially in the post-Jayalalithaa phase.

Yet, aside from the RJD of the jail-bird Lalu Yadav, the Congress cannot count on anyone who will stick with it in 2019. The other major regional party, the Biju Janta Dal  stayed neutral, not voting for the motion. The Samajwadi Party did, but its chief, Akhilesh Yadav, has learnt from experience and now rudely spurns the hand of friendship extended by Rahul Gandhi. The DMK does not have a single member in the present Lok Sabha, though it might bounce back in the next general election. Ditto for Mayawati’s BSP. She is willing to do business with the Congress but on her own terms. That leaves little else for the Congress to try and form its pet Mahagathbandhan. Even the newbie, AAP, would like to have a major chunk of seats in any alliance the Congress might want to forge in Delhi. In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh the Congress is in a position to engage in a one-to-one contest against the BJP.  Neither party needs an ally in these States. However, UP is vital for the formation of any government in Delhi. Here the Congress is a cipher. In Bihar, it is at the mercy of Lalu Yadav. Punjab has but only 13 Lok Sabha seats which may be shared between the Congress and the Akali-BJP alliance. In Karnataka, the JD(S) and Congress will fight the 2019 poll in alliance provided Chief Minister  H D Kumaraswamy can weather the travails of a coalition without crying in which the tail is bigger than the head and is naturally prone to shake the latter at its will. In other words, gathering all against Modi on a single platform is no easy task.

As for the 12-hour televised spectacle seen live by the nation, well,  the quality of the debate was rather poor, with no fresh ground being broken by the speakers from either side. Rahul Gandhi manufactured ‘facts’ on Doklam and Rafale deal and was soon left feeling sorry for being proven a purveyor of lies and falsehoods. His only original was the hug he tried to give the sitting Prime Minister against all established canons of parliamentary conduct, but he  worsened his own case as a mature politician by winking mischievously soon after. At 47, such childishness does not become anyone aspiring for prime ministership. Nonetheless, the anti-Modi media lapped it up in the absence of anything better coming from the ‘new young hope of the nation.’  Even Modi was not at his best, using the debate to project the achievements of the Government and virtually delineating in great detail what he had done to alleviate the lot of the poor and the less-privileged.  But the debate did sound the poll bugle, alright.


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