The notice of a no-trust motion against the Modi Government, as and when it is taken up in the Lok Sabha, is bound to fail for want of numbers. Even the mover, Telugu Desam Party, does not have its heart in it, its hand having been forced by the aggressive Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress. To begin with, the BJP still commands a simple majority of its own. Then a number of allies despite minatory noises are bound to support the Government.
In other words, the motion will be talked out, really, a case of much ado about nothing. However, should the motion be admitted for discussion, it would serve a useful purpose. It would help clarify a lot of things. It would ensure that after weeks-long disruptions and adjournments, the House would be allowed to function normally yet again. With the ruling party pushing through the Finance Bill without a debate — not a happy development for our parliamentary democracy — the legislative business of government may yet be accomplished in the remaining few days before the end of the Budget session on 6th April. In some ways, it will be interesting to watch the debate on the no-trust motion.
The Opposition parties might be able to make a case against all the acts of omission and commission that it asserts the Government is guilty of. The Congress Party, in particular, can detail its case against the Government on the Nirav Modi-PNB scam and on the allegedly flawed Rafale deal. This would provide the Government an opportunity to counter the Opposition charges and, in turn, make some of its own against the Opposition. Such give and take inside on the floor of Parliament is the stuff of a healthy democratic system everywhere. And not an unbridled shouting match, name-calling, rushing into the well of the House with scurrilous placards and the defiance of the presiding officers. The degeneration of Parliament to such low levels ought to be avoided by both sides.
Besides, the ruling party ought to be able to explain why its steady ally, the TDP, has felt so aggrieved as to snap its links with the ruling alliance. The denial of special status to Andhra Pradesh might be rooted in law, but the failure of the State government to furnish accounts for huge funds already given needs to be highlighted. If the State Government does not account for the funds already given for various projects, the Centre is legally-obliged not to release further installments. This needs to be brought out fully so that Chandrababu Naidu cannot go about posing as a victim of the Centre’s perfidy. Meanwhile, the outcome of the recent by-polls is bound to echo in the debate on the no-trust motion as and when it takes place.
Despite the BJP losing both the Lok Sabha seats in UP, it is nobody’s case that a gang-up of all the Opposition parties in 2019 can get the better of the Modi-led BJP. For, the prime minister continues to be the most popular leader by some distance among all the Opposition leaders. It will be difficult to match his appeal in a Lok Sabha poll. In any case, the decimation of the Congress in the by-polls yet again raises questions about the acceptance of Rahul Gandhi as the leader of any viable anti-BJP grouping. Besides, the Congress does not have a tall leader to head a potential anti-BJP front. In this context, the reported meeting of Rahul with Sharad Pawar is not without significance.
To begin with, the two leaders could firm up an electoral alliance in Maharashtra for the next Lok Sabha poll. Whether Rahul will step aside to grant Pawar the mantle of leadership of the entire non-BJP segment is the moot question. Of course, Pawar is a pigmy before someone like Mamata Banerjee whose grip on West Bengal remains firm. She would not cede claim to be the leader of an omnibus anti-BJP group so easily. In short, in spite of the eagerness of all the pundits and politicians arrayed against the present government, Modi remains firmly in saddle — and very much in contention for a second, straight five-year term on the present reckoning. So, bring on the no-trust motion. It can only be talked out, nothing more.