After Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) official exit from the NDA, the BJP is now faced with two no-confidence motions against its government. The YSR Congress Party had initially floated a no-confidence motion on their own but the TDP sees the possibility of a tie-up between the BJP and the YSRCP and therefore, has decided to float a no-confidence motion on its own as they had “no confidence in their (YSRCP’s) no-confidence motion.” In their endeavour, TDP and the YSRCP will be supported by the Congress, the Left, the Aam Aadmi Party, the AIMIM and the AIADMK. The motion may quite possibly be supported by the Shiv Sena and Trinamool Congress.
The BJP government, which has a majority in the Parliament on its own, is extremely unlikely to be affected by the no-confidence motion although it does have a couple of disgruntled MPs in its ranks. As of this moment, the no-confidence motion comes across as less of a serious attempt at dislodging the government and more of a demonstration of power by BJP’s allies ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The Congress Party, in the past, has on several occasions accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of destroying the foundations of democracy in the country. During the party’s Tripura campaign, Rahul Gandhi said the BJP does not believe in “constitutional democracy.” Considering the numerous times the Congress Party has blocked the Parliament from functioning, the comment is a bit rich coming from Rahul Gandhi. And with glee in their faces, the Congress will support the no-confidence motion against the BJP by YSRCP and TDP in the Parliament, despite no purpose being served by it apart from a wastage of crucial time.
We should also remember the conduct of the Congress in the 1999 vote of confidence. The 1999 vote of confidence was a tragedy in more ways than one. Betrayal apart, a crucial vote against the government came from an MP who was the Chief Minister of a state at that point in time. Giridhar Gamang of the Congress Party did not resign immediately after being elected the Chief Minister of Odisha and went to Parliament to register his vote on the motion complying with the wishes of the Chief Whip of his party.
The Congress Party which was reduced to whining when the JD(U) ditched the Mahagathbandhan for an alliance with BJP saying the JD(U) had disrespected the anti-BJP mandate by the people of Bihar ironically does not see itself disrespecting the mandate of a billion Indians when it supports the no-confidence motion by an ex-NDA ally. Atul Kumar Anjaan of the CPI had also stated that the BJP had ‘broken’ the mandate of the people of Bihar and alluded to an underhand dealing between the JD(U) and the BJP.
The AAP, as well, which has witnessed its credibility plummet rapidly over the past couple of years, probably sees the no-confidence motion as an opportunity to ruffle some feathers within the BJP. In the past, they have often said that Narendra Modi is a threat to democracy and accused the central government of not allowing the Delhi government to function. It is no wonder then that they are supporting a no-confidence motion against the NDA government.
The less said about the AIMIM and the Left the better. The Communist parties sincerely believe that democracy is well and healthy only when they are voted to power. According to them, everyone to the right of Stalin, Lenin and Mao is a fascist, basically, everyone who is not a communist, and democracy is under a grave threat whenever they lose elections, which is almost every election. The AIMIM, on the other hand, appears to believe everyone who does not adhere to Sharia Law is a threat to Islam and it does not surprise anyone that they are supporting the no-confidence motion.
A lot has changed and yet, many things seem to have remained the same, since the time the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government lost the motion of confidence by a single vote. The AIADMK led by the late Jayalalithaa had voted against the government leading to its fall, and this time as well, the AIADMK will support the no-confidence motion against the NDA government. Mayawati, memorably, had betrayed Atal Bihari Vajpayee after promising to support the government. However, in 2018, it does not have a single member in the Lok Sabha.
The Shiv Sena, whose relationship with the BJP has become increasingly turbulent in recent times, might also end up supporting the no-confidence motion. Politics does make for some strange bed-fellows and in 2018, it appears that a self-proclaimed Hindutva Party could very well end up allying itself with a party that blatantly engages in minority appeasement such as the Trinamool Congress. To be fair to Shiv Sena, it perceives itself to be under an existential threat from the BJP which it sees as encroaching upon its territory. And the Trinamool Congress is currently forced to deal with a saffron surge in West Bengal, especially after BJP’s massive victory in Tripura, the formerly left bastion.
The no-confidence motion has the support of a disgruntled regional party, an ally of the BJP trying to protect its turf in the state, a national party that is struggling to be relevant in national politics, a party that has been enduring an internal turmoil for quite a while and a couple of parties which bears a visceral hatred for the colour saffron. The motions are likely to be supported by another ally that feels the BJP is encroaching upon its turf and a party that faces a serious saffron surge in the state it rules. More than the actual vote, it’s the politics behind the motion that is the point of interest here because it is almost certain to fail on the floor of the House.