New Delhi/Kolkata: Leaders of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will deliberate today if the party should back West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in moving a no-trust motion against the Congress-led central government.
Banerjee has sought the BJP’s support in calling a no-confidence vote against the government during the winter session of Parliament that begins on Thursday.
Banerjee said on Tuesday that her Trinamool Congress (TMC) party was willing to join forces even with its arch-rival Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, to move a no-confidence motion against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
She said that in her campaign against the Centre’s “anti-people policies”, she was willing to ally with any like-minded political party. “If I required, I am willing to meet Biman Bose (Left Front chairman in West Bengal and a CPM politburo member) at (his party’s Kolkata headquarters at) Alimuddin Street,” she said, adding that she did not consider anyone “untouchable”.
While one section of the BJP is keen to back any move aimed at pulling down the UPA administration, other leaders prefer cornering the government in a debate, followed by a vote, on the controversial issue of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.
The latter argue that the government may win a no-confidence motion as many political parties may be reluctant to pull it down despite their opposition to the FDI policy.
A majority of the BJP leaders favour the line taken by Left parties led by the CPM that want to challenge the government’s FDI policy through a vote on the issue.
“I have no hesitation in standing with the BJP to oppose FDI in retail that affects the lives of millions of people,” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat has said.
These BJP leaders fear the UPA will be emboldened if the trust motion is defeated and that it would be treated as Parliament’s endorsement of its policies.
Besides, if the motion is defeated, the government will get a breather, as according to rules, the opposition will have to wait six months before it can move another no-confidence vote.
“In a debate with a vote, allies like the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and friendly parties like the Samajwadi party, which have already opposed the FDI policy publicly, would find it difficult to back the government. This confusion will be tougher for the government to face,” said a CPM leader, who did not want to be identified.
Banerjee, who has already discussed the proposed no-trust motion with Gurudas Dasgupta—a key leader of the Communist Party of India, a smaller constituent of the Left Front—on Tuesday said that if the CPM wished to move the motion, TMC will vote in its support.
The group of BJP leaders that favours Banerjee’s stance argue that supporting her TMC party, CPM’s rival in West Bengal, will open options of forming an alliance with the party for the next general election. Banerjee’s senior party colleagues are expected to meet Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav on Tuesday on this issue.
In Tamil Nadu, chief minister J. Jayalalithaa is also meeting her party leaders to finalize a strategy for the winter session. Her All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the BJP, has nine members in the Lok Sabha.