Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Majahan on Wednesday accepted a no-confidence motion moved by 12 Opposition parties, including the Congress, against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government. The Monsoon Session of Parliament, which began on Wednesday, will end on August 10.
“The government which led farmers to commit suicide, under whose regime women are being raped everyday...we move no confidence motion against you,” Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia had said while moving the motion, ANI reported.
The no-trust motion will be discussed in the Lok Sabha on Friday, ANI reported. Mahajan named all the Opposition MPs who had moved similar motions, and said that the one taken up would be Telugu Desam Party MP Kesineni Srinivas’s, as his name had come up first in the lottery.
Former Congress President Sonia Gandhi tried to play down reports about the Opposition not being able to gather enough votes, NDTV reported. “Who says we do not have the numbers?” Gandhi asked. Her comment triggered many reactions from BJP leaders.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was ready to face the no-trust vote and win it. “Accepting or not accepting the vote of no-confidence in not in the realm of the government, it is prerogative of the Speaker,” Kumar added.
The Telugu Desam Party, a former ally of the NDA, had served the notice of a no-confidence motion to the Lok Sabha secretariat on Tuesday. It issued a three-line whip asking its Lok Sabha MPs to be present in the House on July 19 and July 20 for the no-confidence motion, ANI reported.
An earlier no-confidence motion, attempted by Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Telugu Desam Party and Opposition YSR Congress in the Budget Session could not be debated because the House was adjourned several times. Both parties are demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh. Protesting leaders from both parties had disrupted proceedings in Parliament all through the Budget Session in March-April. The row had even led to the TDP to walk out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in May.
On Wednesday, legislators from the TDP, the Samajwadi Party and the Congress chanted slogans even as Question Hour began. However, Mahajan said their problems could be discussed after the Question Hour was over.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi were among those present in the House.
Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, whose office was attacked allegedly by members of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha on Tuesday, said: “It wasn’t only an attack on a constitutionally provided office, but a larger attempt by the ruling party to destroy idea of India and pluralism. Swami Agnivesh was also attacked. We shouldn’t stand by as mob lynching and hooliganism rule.” Later, speaking to reporters, he refused to withdraw his any of his statements.
In the Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for brief periods soon after proceedings began on Wednesday due to protests by leaders from the Telugu Desam Party seeking special status for Andhra Pradesh, ANI reported.
Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu agreed to take up the matter on Thursday or Friday, PTI reported.
Samajwadi Party and Telugu Desam Party members also protested in the well of the House in the Lok Sabha over several matters. Naidu said he has received notices for suspension of rules for discussing various matters, but would not do so. Instead, he said he had converted the notices into Zero Hour mentions, except the one for special status for Andhra Pradesh.
The Trinamool Congress gave a Zero Hour notice in the Rajya Sabha over incidents of mob lynching in the country. The Communist Party of India gave an adjournment notice on the matter and the attack on social activist Agnivesh in Jharkhand on Tuesday.
Calls for zero interruptions
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said extensive discussions on “important issues of national interest” would take place during this session. “May the productivity of the forthcoming session and the rich levels of debate also become a source of inspiration for the various state assemblies,” he said, according to NDTV. Urging all political parties to use the time in Parliament on productive discussions, Modi said his government was ready to debate any matter.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan last week wrote to members, asking them to avoid the “cycle of interruptions” in the House by staging disruptions. During the previous session of the Parliament, the Budget Session, the Lok Sabha lost nearly 128 hours to “interruptions and forced adjournments”. It was the least productive since 2000.
Meanwhile, dancer Sonal Mansingh, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member and author Rakesh Sinha, and sculptor Raghunath Mohapatra took oath in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after President Ram Nath Kovind had nominated them on Sunday. Former BJP MP Ram Shakal has also been nominated to the Upper House of Parliament.
The nominees replaced cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, actor Rekha, businessperson Anu Aga, and former Attorney General of India K Parasaran.