No-confidence motion not yet taken up; political suicide, says TDP: Updates

TDP MP Naramalli Siva Prasad dressed as a school child (C) protests with party MPs demanding special status for the state of Andhra Pradesh during the budget session of Parliament in New Delhi on Tuesday
The no-confidence motion notices against the Narendra Modi government, moved by the Telegu Desam Party (TDP) and the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) for the Centre’s refusal to grant a special category status to Andhra Pradesh could not be taken up in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday amid ruckus in the House.

The TDP termed this as a “political suicide”, accusing the Centre of “running away” from facing a no-confidence motion. Meanwhile, the YSRCP sought its no-confidence motion to be taken up by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday and urged all members to be present for voting.

Earlier, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government would not curtail the ongoing Parliament session and that it was ready to discuss all the issues, including the no-confidence motions.

Lok Sabha proceedings have been marred by a logjam since the start of the second half of the Budget Session, amid disparate state-specific demands by various parties, besides the demand for a special category status to be accorded to Andhra Pradesh. On Tuesday, the House saw its first adjournment within minutes of convening, amid chants of “We want justice” echoing all over. The Rajya Sabha had also been adjourned for the day due to the Opposition’s protests.

Since March 5, when Parliament met after a recess, both Houses have been witnessing disruptions on a daily basis. Amid din, the Finance Bill and the appropriation bills were passed in the Lok Sabha without any discussion.

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) members have been demanding an increase in the reservation quota for jobs in Telangana, while the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) members want the setting up of a Cauvery Management Board.

Several Opposition parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) and Rashtriya Janata Dal have expressed their support to the no-confidence notices.

The government, meanwhile, is not likely to face a major problem in defending the motions, whenever they are taken up: At present, the Lok Sabha has 539 members, of whom more than half, or 273, are from the BJP. The government would to beat the halfway mark of 270 to defend itself. Besides, it also has the support of several allies like the Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal.

On Tuesday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh also said amid the din that the government was ready for a discussion on any issue, including on the no-confidence motion.

Here are the top 10 developments so far around the proposed no-confidence motions against the Narendra Modi-led central government:

1. No-confidence motions coming up for discussion today? The no-confidence notices submitted by Thota Narasimham of the TDP and Y V Subba Reddy of the YSRCP are again expected to be taken up for discussion on Wednesday.

YSR Congress on Tuesday issued a statement to its Lok Sabha members of parliament (MPs), and directed them to be present in the House to vote unanimously on the no-confidence motion.

YSR Congress issues whip to its Lok Sabha MPs, directs them to be present in the house tomorrow for voting on no confidence motion #BudgetSession

— ANI (@ANI) March 20, 2018

"The YSR Congress has issued a notice that House expresses no confidence in the Council of Ministers. The motion is likely to come before the House on 21 March 2018 (Wednesday). All members of YSR Congress party should be present and stand up to vote in favour of the motion as required on 21 March 2018 (Wednesday) at the time of the motion of no confidence is taken up in the House," read the notice. 

"We request the Speaker to allow our no-confidence motion. As long as the Budget session continues we will press for discussion to take place on the no-confidence motion. Ruckus has been happening in the House for past 15 days but the Finance Bill was passed," Reddy said.

On the Andhra Pradesh special category status, YSRCP President Jagan Mohan Reddy took to Twitter and had appealed to all parties in the House to cooperate."SCS is AP's lifeline! We humbly appeal to all parties in the House to cooperate in this crucial discussion on the no-confidence motion, moved against the Central Government for not granting SCS to AP," Reddy had tweeted.

YSR Congress, an opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, on March 18 gave a notice to the Lok Sabha General-Secretary seeking to move a no-confidence motion in the Lower House against the Centre for its refusal to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
2. ‘Centre committing political suicide’: TDP politburo member and Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said the government had no authority to “reject” a no-confidence motion when a notice had been served.

"Running away from facing a no-confidence motion is like committing political suicide. Not taking up such a motion for discussion is against parliamentary traditions," said Yanamala, previously the Speaker of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

"It is not proper for the Speaker to reject the motion citing disorder in the House. It is the responsibility of the government to run the House in order," he said.

3. ‘Centre behind the agitation’: Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had said she was unable to take up the no-confidence motion as there was no order in the House. Yanamala asked if the AIADMK, which was raising protests in the well of the House, was not a party friendly to the BJP. "The Centre is behind the agitation by friendly parties in the Lok Sabha, only to run away from facing a no-confidence motion. The happenings in the House are proof enough," he added.

On Tuesday, Opposition parties in the Lok Sabha appeared united over a no-confidence motion against the government, which was not taken up, as members of AIADMK and TRS protested near the Speaker's podium.

4. Willing to discuss no-confidence motion, says Ananth Kumar: Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar on Tuesday said the government would not curtail the ongoing Parliament session and that it was ready to discuss all the issues, including the no-confidence motions against it.

At the same time, Kumar added that the government was determined to go ahead with the key Bills, including the one on triple talaq and the abolition of the Unregulated Deposit Schemes Bill, 2018. He added that the House would function according to schedule until April 6.

Kumar added that the government had been telling the Opposition, including the Congress, since day one that it was ready to discuss all the matters, including the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud, special package to Andhra Pradesh, Cauvery river water dispute and the no-confidence motion. "We are ready to discuss all the issues. We are waiting for both the Houses to function properly. We are ready to reply on all the issues."

Stating that the NDA enjoys confidence "inside and outside" the Parliament, Ananth Kumar has ruled out any threat to the Narendra Modi government from the no-confidence motions moved against it. 

5. Naidu calls off dinner for MPs: With the Rajya Sabha stalled for the last 12 days, an upset chairman of the House, M Venkaiah Naidu, has called off the dinner that he had planned to host for MPs on Wednesday.

Sources said all preparations for the dinner had been in place since last week. Naidu had spoken to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Leader of the House, the Leader of the Opposition and other floor leaders, inviting them for the dinner.

Invitations had been kept ready and Naidu was expecting the Rajya Sabha to get back to normal work before sending out the invites. He expected a turnaround in the situation by March 19 but that did not happen.

At the daily meeting with floor leaders in his chamber on Tuesday, Naidu, while conveying his anguish over the ongoing stalemate in the House, informed the leaders of his decision to call off Wednesday's dinner.

The sources said Naidu was of the view that it would not be appropriate to go ahead with the dinner at a time when the House was not functioning for over two weeks.

Specialist cooks, who were to come from Andhra Pradesh, were asked to cancel their train bookings. The chairman also refused to inaugurate a badminton tournament for MPs at the Constitution Club last week 

6. Lok Sabha adjourned yesterday: The Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned yesterday as several members trooped near Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s podium raising slogans and displaying placards. Initially, it was adjourned till 12 noon and later for the day as the protests only turned louder. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan tried to run the Question Hour, but as the din continued, the House was adjourned, amid chants of “We want justice” echoing.

The TDP MPs yesterday protested in Parliament premises, demanding a special category status for the state of Andhra Pradesh. In a bizarre move, MP Naramalli Sivaprasad joined the protest dressed up as a schoolboy, wearing shorts & carrying a notebook.

TDP MPs protest in Parliament premises, demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh. MP Naramalli Sivaprasad joined the protest dressed up as a school boy, wearing shorts & carrying a notebook. #Delhi

— ANI (@ANI) March 20, 2018

Today was the 12th straight day of the second half of the Budget session that was marred by disruptions. The session started on March 5 and will conclude on April 6.

7. Rajya Sabha was also adjourned: Rajya Sabha was on Tuesday adjourned for the day soon after Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu took up Zero Hour, as parties from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh disrupted proceedings over their state-specific demands.

The TDP and TRS members had been shouting slogans for a special status to Andhra Pradesh, while the two Tamil Nadu parties – DMK and AIADMK – had raised the Cauvery water issue.

Amid the protest, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel had said the government was ready to discuss all issues. Goel said the Narendra Modi-led government had done good work and "we are not afraid" of anything, amid thumping of benches by BJP members.

In an effort to bring order in the House, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said that he had been stressing from day one that all important issues, including banking scam and Cauvery issue, should be debated.

8. Statement on 39 Indians killed in Iraq's Mosul delayed: In the Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj made a statement confirming the death of 39 Indians in Mosul, Iraq, who were abducted by the Islamic State terror group in 2014. The protesting MPs from the AIADMK, DMK and TDP entered the well soon after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement on the 39 missing Indians in Iraq and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad made brief remarks. 

Loud slogans were raised by Opposition as Sushma Swaraj sought permission from the Lok Sabha Speaker to deliver a statement on the death of 39 Indians in Iraq's Mosul. An agitated Swaraj said, “It is something sad that I want to tell the House and it cannot be done in this ruckus.”

Loud slogans raised by opposition as EAM Sushma Swaraj seeks permission from Lok Sabha Speaker to deliver statement on death of 39 Indians in Iraq's Mosul, says, 'It is something sad that I want to tell the house and it cannot be done in this ruckus.'

— ANI (@ANI) March 20, 2018

Backing Swaraj, Mahajan told MPs raising slogans, “This is not proper, do not be so insensitive, please do not indulge in such politics!”

This is not proper, do not be so insensitive, please do not indulge in such politics! : Lok Sabha Speaker to MPs raising slogans when EAM wanted to deliver statement on death of 39 Indians in Iraq's Mosul

— ANI (@ANI) March 20, 2018

9. Chandrababu calls for unity on no-confidence motion: N Chandrababu Naidu has asked TDP MPs and senior party leaders to impress on other opposition parties the need to bring in the no-confidence motion against the Modi-led government at the Centre.

The TDP chief reviewed the happenings in Parliament during a teleconference with his party MPs and senior leaders last night and apprehended that the Centre might get the session adjourned sine die by creating a din through other parties.

He sought to know why the party MPs and leaders were not taking up discussion on the no trust motion.

"Be alert and react according to their moves. Ensure that MPs of other parties also attend the House. Get no-trust motion notices issued by other parties as well," he told his MPs.

The TDP had issued a notice last Friday to move a no-confidence motion against the Modi government, protesting non-implementation of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

10) BJP says it gave Andhra billions, but TDP still left NDA: The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre had been trying to highlight what it has done for Andhra Pradesh since the spat with its ally, the TDP, went public. Kumar said that though the Modi government generously released an additional grant of Rs 240 billion (Rs 24,000 crore) after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the TDP had taken the decision to walk out of the NDA and move a no-confidence motion against the Modi government "keeping some of its issues in mind". 

The Union minister claimed that no state in the country had ever received funds the way Andhra Pradesh had for the construction and development of its capital Amaravati, the Polavaram dam, national highways, irrigation projects, and houses for the poor. Further, the minister felt that the TDP's decision and actions were taken due to the agitation by the Congress and the YSR Congress Party over the granting of special-category status. 

He stressed that the BJP was always with the people of Andhra Pradesh and was committed to their development. The BJP had earlier asserted that it was ready to do more than just give special-category status to Andhra Pradesh a day after N Chandrababu Naidu, pulled out the TDP from the NDA alliance. 

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