Monsoon Session: Shiv Sena asks its MPs to support the government during Friday’s no-trust vote
The Aam Aadmi Party also issued a whip to its legislators, asking them to vote for the motion.
The Shiv Sena on Thursday issued a whip to all its MPs, asking them to vote against the Opposition’s no-confidence motion, ANI reported. The party announced its decision even as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu wrote to all the legislators in the Lower House, asking them to support the motion.
“In view of continued adamant attitude of Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance [NDA] government, TDP has moved no-confidence motion against them,” Naidu said, according to the Hindustan Times. “I appeal to you to support the motion moved by our MPs.”
The Aam Aadmi Party also issued a whip to its legislators, asking them to vote for the motion. The Biju Janata Dal, on the other hand, simply asked all its legislators to be present for the motion, without indicating which way they must vote. The Congress also issues a three-line whip to its MPs, asking them to be present in Lok Sabha for the trust vote, reported the Hindustan Times.
BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha said the Opposition should have moved the no-confidence motion later. “...Because we have the numbers and our moral is also up,” he told ANI. “I haven’t left BJP & party has not left me. As long as I’m in BJP, I’ll support it and follow every whip.”
Though the majority mark in the 543-member Lok Sabha is 272, the government needs 267 votes to win the no-confidence motion, because 10 seats are vacant. The ruling National Democratic Alliance has 313 members, including the speaker.
The BJP has been allotted 3 hours and 33 minutes for the debate on Friday, while the Congress has been allotted 38 minutes. The AIADMK has been given 29 minutes, Trinamool Congress 27 minutes, the Bharatiya Janata Dal 15 minutes, Shiv Sena 14 minutes, Telugu Desam Party 13 minutes and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi nine minutes. The Communist Party of India has been allotted seven minutes for the debate, while the Samajwadi Party and the Nationalist Congress Party has been allotted six minutes each.
The second day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament began on a chaotic note, with the Congress submitting an adjournment notice over the incidents of mob lynching across the country. An uproar started when Union minister Jayant Sinha began speaking during the Question Hour. Sinha, who met eight accused in the Ramgarh lynching case earlier this month, faced protests from Opposition MPs, The Indian Express reported.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the government condemns all incidents of mob lynching. “Unverified reports, fake news spread through social media are triggers,” he added. “It is the state government’s responsibility to ensure that no such incidents take place in the future. Law and order is a state subject. This is why we have requested the social media operators to keep a tab in order to avoid the spread of fake information.”
Congress MP KC Venugopal urged the Centre to bring in measures to reduce attacks by vigilante groups against people “with different views”, The New Indian Express reported. He also mentioned the attack by purported Bharatiya Janata Party workers on social activist Agnivesh and Union minister Jayant Sinha garlanding lynching accused.
The Opposition party staged a walkout in protest, calling Rajnath Singh’s remarks unsatisfactory. “This is not a game of ping pong that states and Centre keep shifting responsibilities,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor told reporters outside Parliament. He was referring to Singh’s assertion that law and order is a state subject.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Congress leader Anand Sharma accused the government of misusing the law enforcement agencies. “Are there two laws in the nation?” he asked. “One implemented from the political point of view for political rivals, and the other for your own people, against whom there are serious allegations?”
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said there was no political will. “Lokpal has not been passed for four years now,” he added. “Corruption keeps happening but no investigation is done. There is no enactment of prevention of corruption act.”
The Congress, meanwhile, is set to oppose the amendments the government has proposed to the Right to Information Act. “Every Indian has the right to know the truth. The BJP believes the truth must be hidden from the people and they must not question people in power,” Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweeted in the morning. “The changes proposed to the RTI will make it a useless Act. They must be opposed by every Indian.”
Earlier in the day, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam said it supported the no-confidence motion even though it has no presence in the Lok Sabha. Dissident Bharatiya Janata Party MP Shatrughan Sinha will oppose the motion. Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the party’s legislators will follow the directives of its chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami hinted that his party may not support the no-trust vote. “We haven’t brought this [the no-confidence motion],” ANI quoted him as saying. “It is Andhra Pradesh’s issue and they brought this. We in Tamil Nadu struggled for 22 days in Parliament for the Cauvery Management Board. We stalled proceedings. Who came to us? Which state came forward and helped in our cause?”