Congress rushes no-confidence motion against Narendra Modi govt as Mamata Banerjee threatens to steal limelight

Tuesday wasn't a great day for the Congress as the Lok Sabha got adjourned till Wednesday due to ruckus and the House failed to take up no-confidence motion notices against the BJP-led NDA government, including one that the Congress wanted to move.

Days after YSR Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) gave notices for no-confidence motion followed by the Left, the Congress got desperate to follow the same route of protest. Congress was fourth in the row.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

The Congress might have felt the heat of West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee’s efforts to form a non-BJP, non-Congress ‘federal front’ to confront Narendra Modi-led government and Amit Shah-led BJP during the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Banerjee who was in the National Capital on Tuesday to attend a meeting called by NCP supremo Sharad Pawar regarding the formation of an alternative political force to put brakes on Modi juggernaut.

On the other hand, besides YSR Congress, it's the Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP – an erstwhile ally of NDA that gave no-confidence motion notice.

If TDP, a strong ally of NDA could quit the alliance and give notice, besides other two, why couldn’t the principal opposition Congress do the same?

This thought probably inspired Congress to follow YSR Congress, TDP and the Left, especially, as the Congress had decided way ahead of current Parliament session to attack the government inside and outside the Parliament on the PNB scam and other issues of corruption and farmers’ distress. The decision to do so was taken during party’s Steering Committee meeting led by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

"Congress could have easily given the no-confidence motion notice right at the beginning. But we didn’t because we wanted to give the NDA some time to have a healthy discussion in the House, which the latter didn’t. It was the Congress party that decided much before the beginning of the Parliament session to attack the government both inside and outside the Parliament and also demand a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe against PNB scam," a Congress Member of Parliament told Firstpost on condition of anonymity.

However, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge said that the government was apparently running away from a discussion on the issue.

"We moved the vote of no-confidence motion in the House under Rule 198. There’s a need for minimum 50 members to move the motion. It becomes difficult for the Speaker to count the numbers as AIADMK members were in the Well. We facilitated the process so that the Speaker could count our MPs and we’re 80. But we were not given permission to discuss. This clearly shows the government doesn’t want a discussion... we’ll do it again tomorrow," said Kharge to the media after the House got adjourned on Tuesday.

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According to sources, the central leadership of Congress was under the pressure from Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee to give the notice, so that YSR Congress and TDP shouldn’t be able to steal the show alone.

On 23 March, in a meeting of the Congress MPs, it was decided that the party would submit a notice on 27 March. A whip was issued by the party high command to all its Lok Sabha members to remain present in the Lower House.

Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said the other day that it’s not only the Congress but three-four other parties have moved a no-confidence motion against the government.

"This must have something to do with the kind of mal-governance you are having in this country," he had said.

Given its position in terms of numbers in the Lok Sabha making it the principal opposition party, the Congress is now trying to garner support through floor coordination, so that it could successfully move the no-confidence motion against the government.

It's also important for the party to join ranks with the other three parties in moving no-confidence motion and appear as an opposition force against the Modi government, especially when TMC has given clear indication that it wouldn’t accept Rahul’s leadership in any form of alliance. Much before its formation, Mamata and Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao have made it clear that the Federal front would have collective leadership.

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Updated Date: Mar 27, 2018 22:10:13 IST

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