Narendra Modi vs Rahul Gandhi: Playing out at Lok Sabha today

Narendra Modi vs Rahul Gandhi: Playing out at Lok Sabha today

Courtesy : NJ24/07/2018 18:41

 Both sides scrambled to bolster their numbers for Friday's floor test, mostly a political exercise because the BJP-led ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has a comfortable majority, and no major ally is likely to ditch the government.

The Centre claimed on Thursday that upset partner Shiv Sena would vote against the Opposition's no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha. This was after BJP president Amit Shah reportedly called up the Maharashtra party's chief, Uddhav Thackeray. Sena hasn't made its stand public.

 How fence-sitters such as Tamil Nadu's AIADMK, Odisha's BJD and Telangana's TRS vote will be a political indicator ahead of next year's general elections. The three may end up helping the government by abstaining from vote and bringing the halfway mark down. Shah is also understood to have reached out to at least AIADMK and TRS for clear support. BJD is likely to take a final call on Friday morning. 

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan admitted estranged NDA partner TDP's motion, supported by Congress and other Opposition parties, on the first day of Parliament's Monsoon Session on Wednesday. The Andhra Pradesh party wrote to all MPs on Thursday for their support. However, one of its own MPs is likely to defy its whip.

AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami indicated that his party would not support the no-trust vote. "TDP moved the motion to highlight issues of Andhra Pradesh. No state supported Tamil Nadu when we agitated over the Cauvery issue," he said.

The government surprised the Opposition by accepting the motion on day one to ensure the it can be wrapped up quickly and the rest of the 18-sitting Session can be used to push important Bills.

The Opposition wants to corner the government by using the motion to raise issues such as Andhra Pradesh's demand for a special package, lynchings, atrocities against women and Dalits, slow job growth, poor law & order and Kashmir.

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma said that the motion was not limited to numbers. "It is the issues that matter. We need to discuss and debate them to expose the government," said Sharma. He said the party was keen to raise issues such as fuel price hike, farm loan waivers, black money and rising export deficit in the Parliament on Friday.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said BJP allies such as Sena, SAD, LJP, JD(U) and others would back the Modi government that has support of 313 MPs, enough to cross the halfway mark of 268. BJP alone has 273 MPs. About half a dozen of them, sulking over various reasons, may not vote against the motion, sources indicated.

Responding to Congress leader Sonia Gandhi's remarks that those backing the motion had the numbers, the minister also said her maths was weak, and that the Opposition's calculation was wrong. "The Modi government has the majority both inside and outside Parliament," he said. This is the first such test for the centre in the last 15 years, The lok sabha will start discussion at 11 AM.PM Modi will be present in the house and make a speech . voting may stretch 6 PM.

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