New Delhi: The NDA government on Friday sailed through the no-confidence motion against it in the Lok Sabha after a nearly 12-hour debate that became a Narendra Modi vs Rahul Gandhi show.
The government got the support of 325 members, while 126 backed the motion with 451 MPs present in the House. The final tally of the NDA was higher than the 314 figure projected by the party’s floor managers as it got the support of AIADMK – which had been sitting on the fence.
Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswamy had said on Thursday that his party will not vote for the motion since the issue pertains to the demands made by a particular state that is Andhra Pradesh in this case. But it was not clear if the party would abstain or vote with the government.
The BJP fell short of its target of wanting to display a numerical strength beyond NDA’s tally in the 2014 general elections by only nine votes as the Shiv Sena asked its 18 lawmakers to abstain from the vote.
The total strength of the house had come down as members of the BJD and TRS were also not present when the voting took place.
BJP chief Amit Shah said that the result of the vote was only a glimpse of what the BJP will achieve in 2019 elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said in his speech that the opposition could come with another no-trust vote in 2024, thanked all the parties for their support.
“NDA has the confidence of the Lok Sabha and the 125 crore people of India. I thank all the parties that have supported us in the vote today. Our efforts to transform India and fulfil the dreams of our youth continue. Jai Hind!” he tweeted.
Replying to the marathon debate on the motion, Modi accused the Congress of always destroying democracy, saying that his was the first government in 30 years to get a clear majority, and yet it had to face the motion.
He cited several development and welfare initiatives while hitting out at the opposition, saying the country has seen how much negativity has seeped into his rivals that they were speaking against the progress made by the country.
To remove him, these parties, which could not even stand each other, have got together but he had the people's blessings, Modi said as he recited verses and shlokas to describe the opposition as a decrepit ship without a captain.
This is not his government's floor test but a "force test" that the Congress has done to see which parties are with it, he said.
The lion’s share of Modi’s speech was aimed at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who had earlier in the day, surprised all by walking across to the Prime Minister's chair to hug him.
Modi sought to turn the tables on him, saying he appeared to be in a hurry to occupy his seat as he kept asking him to stand up for an embrace.
"What is his hurry to come to power? Let me tell this member, it is the people who elected us. That is how we have come here," he said.
The whole country has watched the game he played with his eyes, Modi said, evoking laughter from treasury benches as he gestured with his hands, apparently referring to Gandhi's wink in the House following his speech.
"The country is not unaware of the history of one family which stoked political instability in the country time and again for its selfish interests," he said.
Without naming Gandhi, Modi said due to his "careless" allegation on the Rafale deal, both India and France had to release statements. There is complete transparency in the deal, he asserted.
Gandhi also spoke about the Doklam issue but believed the Chinese Ambassador over our forces, Modi said referring to Gandhi's meeting with Chinese diplomats during the standoff.
"What have we come to? Everything does not merit a childish conduct," he said.
Apparently referring to the opposition attack on his government over mob lynching incidents, Modi said he has asked state governments to take action against the culprits who indulge in violence.