New Delhi: Indian politics got interesting as the no-confidence motion was brought up in the Parliament again on Friday, after 15 years of the last one in 2003. This time it was the opposition against BJP and Modi and they raised pertinent issues of why they had lost the trust in the present government.
According to preliminary reports, the opposition wanted to talk about price rise, lynchings, Jammu & Kashmir, foreign policy, increase in deposits by Indians in Swiss banks, fleeing of economic offenders from India, atrocities on Dalits and security of women.
What was shocking was how Amit Shah and Modi managed to call the debate so soon and kept half of the debate time for themselves, in a bid to curb dissent from an opposition that couldn’t get enough time to form a unity.
“The main opposition, Congress, has been given 38 minutes to speak, while the AIADMK has been given 29 minutes. Trinamool Congress has been allocated 27 minutes, Biju Janata Dal will have 15 minutes to speak and Telangana Rashtra Samithi has been allocated 9 minutes. The BJP will get to speak for 3 hours and 33 minutes to speak in the 7-hour long debate,” it was reported.
Priyanka Chaturvedi, a spokesperson for the Congress party said that the discussions in Parliament will be the beginning of a momentum that will highlight the government’s failures in the run-up to the general elections.
“The four years of Modi government have been a disaster from the word go and all indicators clearly show that due to its failed governance we are seeing the BJP’s time-tested formula of sowing hate and reaping political benefits come to the fore. The incidents of hate crimes, normalising mob lynching, defending convicts of heinous crimes and the riot mongers seems to be the BJP’s script for 2019 but the Congress is committed to highlighting the government failures, the biggest of which is the economy. The disastrous demonetisation cost the country Rs. 3 lakh crore in GDP growth and wiped out over 25 lakh jobs, while a hastily implemented GST impacted small businesses besides unleashing chaos with unclear as well as hard to implement filing and refund process. The Modi government has presided over the collapse of India’s banking system with the last quarter indicating a net loss of over Rs 44,000 crore, the highest in recorded history for our banks. To hide its mess, the Modi government has now decided to hive off its stake in IDBI by using the hard earned money of every Indian that invested in LIC policy. The international oil prices have been falling since 2014 yet instead of passing the benefits to the people of the country, this government chose to increase central excise taxes (by over 200 per cent on petrol and over 400 per cent on diesel) to make oil costlier than it has ever been, and collected over Rs. 10 lakh crore,” she wrote in The Indian Express.
“The farmers of the country continue to suffer the government apathy. India’s agricultural growth over the past four years has been at its lowest since economic reforms began at a growth rate of mere 1.9 per cent. The minimum support price announced by the government has also turned out to be a big joke on the farmers and yet another jumla by the government to mislead the farmers, even agricultural experts have slammed the MSP + 50 per cent profit claim of the government. To compound this further, agricultural exports fell. After promising 2 crore jobs a year to our young this government has miserably failed in creating jobs. The women of this country continue to fight for equal opportunities and access yet the government refuses to pay heed to their demands. The NCRB data shows constant rise in violence against women and conviction rate lower than past governments exposes their failures. The promise of 33 per cent reservation for women continues to lie in cold storage despite the commitment from Congress to support the bill whenever presented in the parliament,” she added.
“Diplomacy failures despite PM travelling to 84 countries since 2014 are hard to miss. India for the first time witness a Prime Minister that went to Pakistan uninvited and to China on a no-agenda visit. Needless to say both trips besides to other countries have been spectacular failures for the country’s diplomatic strength and outreach,” she said.
It was widely reported that the current PM spent close to Rs. 1500 crores on travel since coming to power in 2014.
“Congress chief Rahul Gandhi attacked Narendra Modi on multiple issues including the Rafale deal, saying the Prime Minister is not a “chowkidaar (guard)” but a “bhagidaar” (participant). “Everybody understands the relationship the PM has with certain business people. The Rafale deal was given to one such person and he benefitted thousands of crores… I can see he (PM) is smiling but there is a touch of nervousness. And now he cannot look me in the eye,” he said during the no-confidence motion hearing.
“The BJP sees this as an opportunity to corner the Congress over a number of issues like triple talaq, uniform civil code, and simultaneous elections among others. The BJP has been pressing for the passing the triple talaq bill in the Rajya Sabha where it lacks majority and it needs the support from the Congress and others to make it a legislation. On uniform civil code, the BJP and Congress have different views. While the BJP has been saying that the uniform civil code is as per the Constitution, the Congress is opposed to it,” reported The Financial Express.
“The BJP will also utilise this as an opportunity to propagate its schemes and programmes that it has launched in last four years and try to send a message to the people that the government is pro-poor. It also comes just ahead of the assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and BJP where the BJP faces anti-incumbency factor. With Narendra Modi leading the charge, it will be a surprise if a motion moved by the opposition turns out to be an embarrassment for itself,” it said.
“The most important reason cited was the government’s desire to pass the triple talaq Bill — or at least have the debate on it play out on television screens, newspaper articles and social media. This could only happen if Parliament functions, and for that, they said, it was important to concede some ground to the Opposition by admitting the no-confidence motion,” Smita Gupta wrote for The Hindu.
“By doing so at the outset, it would look gracious and not appear that it had been admitted under pressure. Ministerial sources said it would also provide the government with an effective platform to explain why it had pulled out of the People’s Democratic Alliance-led government in Jammu and Kashmir (an issue that the BJP hopes it can play in the rest of the country as a national security issue), talk of its achievements in the last four years, with a view to reaching voters of the BJP-ruled Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh that are to go to the polls later this year, as well as target the Opposition’s “minority-centric politics”, particularly that of the Congress,” she said.
“The government believes the discussion in Parliament that will be nationally televised will help its message — unmediated by the traditional and social media — reach people across the country. It would give Prime Minister Modi another stage from which to address people directly, as he is expected to intervene in the discussion. BJP president Amit Shah, it is learnt, also urged the government to face the no-confidence motion, as it should not look as though the government had something to hide,” she observed.
“For the Opposition parties that have collectively brought a vote of no-confidence, the key issues it will bring up to place the government in the dock will be the demand for the grant of special status for Andhra Pradesh, the spate of lynchings, atrocities against women and Dalits, and the dilution of a law intended to protect the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,” she said.