Modi govt to face its first no-trust vote on Friday, expects easy win

Modi govt to face its first no-trust vote on Friday, expects easy win

NEW DELHI: On the opening day of the monsoon session on Wednesday, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan accepted an opposition motion for a no-trust vote that the government ought to win with ease but which should see a riveting clash on issues ranging from farm distress, lynching and polarisation. The vote will take place on Friday.
The change in the government’s stand — it had stonewalled the demand in the budget session — took the opposition by surprise as it had expected a stand-off. The government’s decision stemmed from its confidence about its numbers and was based on the assessment that another washed-out session would allow the opposition to argue that BJP was spooked by fears of defections despite its majority.
Opposition circles maintained that the choice of the day for the duel was influenced by a Trinamool Congress rally over the weekend which would have required the presence of Mamata Banerjee’s 34 members in Kolkata. Soon, however, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee issued a whip directing her flock to be in Delhi on the day of the trial of strength.
NCP MPs also have a function to attend in Mumbai on Saturday but will be present in the House now.
BJP managers said the no-trust motion — the first to be faced by the Modi government — will be defeated convincingly as NDA commands a tally of 315 MPs (including the Speaker) in a House with a current strength of 535 and 268 as the halfway mark. BJP’s strength in the House is 273, including two nominated members. The final NDA number could vary slightly as some BJP MPs are in dissident mode while a few are unwell or abroad.
NDA gfxThe stated strength of the opposition is 222, including 63 of Congress-led UPA, 37 of AIADMK, 34 of TMC, 20 of BJD, 16 of TDP and 11 of TRS. Mahajan accepted the notice given by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) going by the submission being the earliest even as other parties, including Congress, did so too.
The ruling coalition is determined to use the no-trust vote to try and deflate opposition claims of unity and is working on a scenario where abstentions in the non-NDA side make its total below par. It is also hoping to secure the neutrality, if not outright support, of parties like BJD, TRS and AIADMK.
The opposition, though aware that numbers are against it, is looking to use the debate to attack the Modi government over several issues and showcase unity among major non-NDA parties.