Following Telugu Desam Party’s decision to withdraw support from the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance coalition on March 16, the TDP is set to move a no-confidence motion against the central government on Monday, 19 March. While the Congress, CPI(M), Trinamool Congress, YSR Congress and AIMIM parties are in support of the motion, it is more likely that some other parties will extend their support.
This will be the first no-confidence motion to be faced by the PM Narendra Modi-led government.
It was YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress party which first served a notice to initiate a no-confidence motion today in Lok Sabha, however, speaker Sumitra Mahajan declined to uphold the motion and adjourned the session stating “the house is not in order”. The second phase of budget sessions 2018 have been disrupted for the tenth consecutive day, with members protesting over issues including the Punjab National Bank scam and Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, amid protests from the members, on March 13, Lok Sabha passed two contentious bills –the Finance Bill, 2018, and the Appropriation Bill, 2018, along with funding demands from 99 Indian government ministries and departments, in a short period of thirty minutes. It was done without any debate as Speaker Mahajan had invoked a parliamentary procedure called the “guillotine”, which empowers her to pass grants without discussion.
While support from a minimum of 50 MPs is required for the Lok Sabha to admit the no-confidence motion, TDP has 16 MPs, Congress – 48 MPs, Trinamool Congress – 34 MPs, CPI(M) – nine MPs, YSR Congress – nine MPs and AIMIM – one MP in Lok Sabha. With more than enough strength to move the motion, it is believed that more parties are likely to join hands against the central government. Currently, the BJP has 272 MPs in Lok Sabha.
The issue of Special Category Status has remained a longstanding demand for both the people and government of Andhra Pradesh since the bifurcation of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh in 2014. Although the BJP had promised to bestow Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh during the election campaign, it backed out after coming into power.
Earlier on March 8, two TDP MPs – P Ashok Gajapati Raju and Y S Chowdary resigned from the Union Cabinet over central government’s refusal to grant Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh.