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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Confidence Or No-Confidence, The Voter Will Have The Last Laugh

After 30 years of fractured mandate the country’s electorate delivered a decisive mandate in 2014. So it was surprising to see a no-confidence motion being moved by the TDP in cahoots with the Congress – the former being a disgruntled ally of the BJP and a part of the NDA until recently. The first no-confidence motion was moved in 1963 against then PM Nehru, and the last no-confidence motion was moved by Sonia Gandhi 15 years back in 2003 against the then PM Vajpayee.

The no-confidence motion’s result was a foregone conclusion as the numbers were stacked up against the opposition. It was no surprise that the motion fell flat on its face by a whopping 200 votes. However, Congress President’s antics & histrionics came centre stage and also earned him the ire of the speaker of the house.

Just after he had launched a wild attack on the Prime Minister accusing the latter of being a “Bhagidar” in the Rafael deal, Rahul Gandhi ambled over to the treasury benches and gave an awkward hug to the PM. The PM was left unmoved by this uncalled for gesture, particularly as it came just after the Congress President had baselessly & incoherently accused the country’s PM and Defence Minister of corruption on the floor of the august house.

This carrot and stick approach of the Congress President diluted the credibility of his words in the Lok Sabha, apart from earning him the ridicule of the Speaker who minced no words in reprimanding him for breaching the decorum of the Lok Sabha. The wink that followed seemed to have trivialised the substance of his speech, which had been built up as yet another ‘earth-shattering intervention’ by Congress supporters.

Unsubstantiated charges are not made in the house as a matter of procedure and protocol, and the Congress President should have known that. The Prime Minister seized on the blunders and the blusters of the Congress President and delivered a knockout punch in his reply.

Confidence or no-confidence motion, the real test of democracy is conducted amongst the masses of the country. As we enter the home stretch of the 2019 elections both camps have chinks in their armoury which could be detrimental to their prospects.

The Hindi belt poses a challenge to the BJP with anti-incumbency looming large over the 3 states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh as they head for polls, just a few months before the mother of all battles in 2019.

As things stand, the BJP and its one time staunchest ally, the Shiv Sena are set to fight against each other in Maharashtra and elsewhere. Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray is also eyeing UP. He is set to launch his 2019 campaign by touring and addressing a rally in Ayodhya and visiting Varanasi .

The Shiv Sena intends to capture the Hindu vote bank, which it feels, has been let down by the BJP by not building the Ram temple even after being in power for almost 5 years. This could be a big setback for the ruling party going into the 2019 polls as it faces double trouble from Shiv Sena and the SP-BSP combine in a state where it has 72 MPs. With only Nitish in Bihar and the Akalis in Punjab in the allies column, the task is cut out for the BJP ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In order to retain power, the Modi-Shah combination will have to muster the 270 odd seats on their own which will not be easy. However, this task could be made easier by a divided opposition as they could squabble for seats and the post of PM .

The opposition unity and the newly formed government under Kumaraswamy in Karnataka is hanging by the thread. It could be a precursor for things to come as far as opposition unity is concerned.

The regional satraps like Mamta in the east , Chandrababu in the south, Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel in the west & Akhilesh, Mayawati in the north are sure to demand their pound of flesh in seat sharing. The Congress President and his aides will have to cater and pander to the egos of these people and parties, a role which they are not used to as they may have to play second fiddle for the opposition unity to succeed.

The various opposition parties will have to instill confidence in the voter that they would be able to give a stable and credible government at the centre.

Ultimately, the Bharatiya voters will have the last laugh as they weigh the credence of opposition unity against the performance of the current government, and exercise their invaluable franchise.

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Aman Gupta
Aman Gupta
Political Editor, Samast Bharat magazine


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