As per reports, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is expected to move a privilege motion against Prime Minister Modi, and the Union Minister Piyush Goyal on an allegation that the two ‘mislead the House’ on their demands for a Special Category Status (SCS) to the state of Andhra.
It was reported, that the privilege motion was asked to be moved by TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu who told his MPs to imply that PM Modi had ‘misused his position of privilege’ by lying to people about Andhra Pradesh’s needs for an SCS.
Following the Centre’s refusal to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh, the TDP quit the NDA, citing the exact reason being spoken about now.
In the recent no-confidence motion debate against his government, PM Modi replied to the TDP’s SCS demands, by quoting the 14th Finance Commission to claim that there was no way to grant a special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
Quoting an earlier speech made by Jayadev Galla, the BJP cited Article 4 which made clear, that parliament could grant an SCS if it felt the need to, and that the BJP was simply being unfair to their state. However, the TDP seems far from impressed by the PM’s response.
Addressing the Rajya Sabha after the no-confidence motion debate Piyush Goyal said: “The Centre has an open mind. We are willing to consider in a rational manner how these issues can be resolved so that the letter and spirit is adhered to. The purpose is that the people of AP should get the benefit and that the Modi government is fully committed to…”. He, too, was discouraged by the TDP because they deemed the statements to be ‘vague’ and ‘directionless’, as they believed that their demands were for tangible and ‘specific’ actions while uplifting Andhra. They called the BJP’s position a ‘misinterpretation of the commission’, and thus held PM Modi and Piyush Goyal accountable for their statements in the Rajya Sabha.
It must be understood that a privilege motion is a notice by any member of either House, against any person accused of breaching their position of privilege.
‘Parliamentary privileges’ are certain rights that are only granted to MPs, MLAs and MLCs, just so that they can effectively carry out their responsibilities. When any of these rights and immunities are violated, the offence is termed a ‘breach of privilege’ and can be punished.
However, the questions regarding the Special Category Status demands were quite intriguing regardless of the Privilege motion. The chain of events saw even the Former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh siding with the TDP, when he said he made a “solemn commitment” on the floor of the House as Prime Minister, on a special category status to the “successor state of Andhra Pradesh” only after discussing the issue with Arun Jaitley.
But it is well worth noting that, the BJP reiterated their position in the Lok Sabha, in the Rajya Sabha too: saying that they were crippled by the 14th Finance Commission, and at the same time, that they held an optimistic attitude towards Andhra, by wanting to do much more than has been done, as said by Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister Modi.
The Telugu Desam Party, on the other hand, appears to seek every platform possible, to express their views on what they call, “an injustice to Andhra”. Even while addressing the Lower House on the no-confidence motion, they suggested that the motion was nothing but a means to find out the “Prime Minister’s thoughts on what is being done to Andhra”. And so, this time too, it is very possible that the TDP thinks of the ‘Privilege Motion’ as a means to hear the answers they did not get in the Lok Sabha, from PM Modi.
Earlier, Congress, too, had decided to move a privilege motion against PM Modi on Rafale, even as proof of signing of a confidentiality agreement by Congress government itself emerged.