New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) The BJP-led NDA government and the Opposition dug in for a showdown in the Lok Sabha after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Wednesday admitted a no-confidence motion and said it would be taken up on Friday for discussion and voting.
The motion is the first to be faced by the Narendra Modi government, which is left with less than one year in office.
It also comes a few months before elections in some key states such as Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where the BJP is in power, and the general elctions due in April-May next year.
Officials said it is the first no-confidence motion to be faced by any government in the Lok Sabha in 15 years, the last being in August 2003 when the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee who faced the motion brought by the Congress and other parties.
Mahajan, who took up the oposition-backed move after the question hour on the first day of the monsoon session, said she was duty-bound to put it before the House.
She said Kesineni Srinavas of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was the first to give his no-confidence notice. She asked him to read out the motion, which was supported by over 50 members, including those from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party and CPI-M.
Members from some other parties, including Congress, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Nationalist Congress Party, had also given notice of no-trust motion.
Mahajan did not agree with Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge that she should have “taken together all notices at a time.”
The Speaker said the discussion and voting will take place on Friday and that there will be no question hour.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar expressed confidence that the government would win the vote.
“Everything will be clear after the discussion. The people have full confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government,” Kumar said in the Lok Sabha.
Talking to reporters later, he said the government was ready to give “a befitting reply” to the Opposition.
“The NDA is united and would vote against the motion. The opposition will repeat the issues which they have been raising. We are ready to respond to each question,” he said.
“We will put before people the welfare schemes and development projects carried out by the government. The NDA has governments in 21 states. The people have rejected opposition in every election held in the last four years,” Kumar said.
Opposition parties had pressed for a no-confidence motion in the second half of the Budget session, but it could not be taken up. The session was nearly washed out.
The ruling NDA has a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha. The TDP, whose member’s notice was accepted, was part of the ruling NDA government and had parted ways with BJP earlier this year over its demand for a special category status for Andhra Pradesh.
Though there was apprehension of disruptions on issues such as mob lynchings, the monsoon session of parliament saw a smooth beginning with both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha taking up the listed business.
Earlier in the day, Trinamool Congress member Dinesh Trivedi urged the Lok Sabha Speaker to change the date for the debate on the motion as the party MPs would be busy in the Martyrs’ Day rally in Kolkata on July 21. The Speaker said she had noted his concern, but did not allow further discussion on the issue.