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No-trust Vote: BJP, Allies to Get Lion's Share of Time to Blunt United Oppn Attack

The Narendra Modi government is expected to coast through the motion and sources said it has the support of at least 314 MPs, well clear of the halfway mark at 268.

News18.com

Updated:July 20, 2018, 10:08 AM IST
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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been allotted three hours and 33 minutes of the seven-hour debate on the opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha on Friday.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s decision to accept the motion moved by the TDP and others came on the first day of the monsoon session. The surprising move signalled a shift in the BJP’s strategy as the government had blocked the no-confidence motion during the budget session in March this year.

Compared to the saffron party, the TDP, a former ally, will be given just 13 minutes to raise the issues of special status to Andhra Pradesh, apart from lynching, communal violence and farmer suicides.

The party is expected to present a united front for a synchronised attack on the government during the discussion. According to a senior leader, the Congress’s Gulam Nabi Azad had a discussion with other opposition leaders, who agreed that since other parties have supported the TDP’s motion, the southern party should also reciprocate and mention the issues raised by them in the House.

Apart from these two, principal opposition party Congress has been allotted 38 minutes. The Biju Janata Dal will get 15 minutes, AIADMK 29, Shiv Sena 14, Trinamool Congress 27 and the TRS 9.

The Narendra Modi government is expected to coast through the motion and sources said it has the support of at least 314 MPs, well clear of the halfway mark at 268. The vote, however, is being viewed as the first test of opposition unity before the 2019 elections.

The Opposition is seeking to use the opportunity to send a message from the floor of the Lok Sabha about the failures of the Modi government and build enough momentum ahead of the polls.

Reacting to remarks from leaders in the government that it had the numbers and the no-trust vote would be defeated, the CPI(M)’s Mohammed Salim said the motion was an instrument through which the issues of the people of the country could be brought up and discussed in Parliament.

“The question is not about winning or losing. The government is deliberately trying to divert people’s attention by saying the Opposition would lose the vote. They want to show that since the Opposition is losing, the issues they are discussing are of no use. That is certainly not the matter. The government is accountable to people and must give answers to the questions raised by the Opposition,” Salim said.

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