BJP throws a lifeline to UPA on no-confidence motion4 min read . Updated: 10 Dec 2013, 09:38 PM IST
BJP declines to go along with a no-confidence motion being initiated by AP lawmakers, who have been opposing Telangana's creation
New Delhi: The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government may see off the political crisis that has emerged immediately after the defeat in the elections to the four state assemblies since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) believes this is not the moment to rock the boat.
At the same time, the main opposition party, upbeat over its spectacular performance in the just concluded state elections, is in no mood to make any compromises that would in any way relieve the political pressure on the UPA in the ongoing winter session.
The BJP declined to go along with a no-confidence motion being initiated by Andhra Pradesh lawmakers, who have been opposing the creation of Telangana. Notices for the no-confidence motion could not be taken up in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday due to the uproar in the House over a host of issues including Telangana, the controversial joint parliamentary committee (JPC) report on second generation spectrum allocation irregularities and the death of 40 children in Muzaffarnagar relief camps. The notices were given by six Congress members from the Seemandhra region, Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress.
The lower House of Parliament also saw the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) members protesting against what they termed discrimination towards cyclone-hit Odisha by the centre and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members rushed to the centre of the House raising slogans opposing the training of Sri Lankan Navy personnel in the country. Left members also were raising slogans, demanding an inquiry into role of ministers in the Saradha chit fund scam in West Bengal, provoking the Trinamool Congress members to counter it vociferously.
Yashwant Sinha, former finance minister and member of the BJP’s parliamentary party said: “The senior leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have contacted the senior leaders of the BJP to ask for support on the no-confidence motion. Since the BJP has already taken a stand that it wants creation of a separate state of Telangana, we cannot support any move which supports a united Andhra Pradesh. We have considered the demand of TDP in the party." The BJP held a meeting of its parliamentary party on Tuesday morning to discuss the political situation in the country and its strategy in the current session of Parliament.
Experts also said the BJP would not pull down the government now. “I think the BJP is not mentally prepared to topple the Congress-led government yet and the party is not prepared for election. It seems the BJP leaders give a signal that the party is not opposed to division of Andhra Pradesh and creation of smaller states," said Parakala Prabhakar, a Hyderabad-based political analyst.
At the same time, the BJP launched a direct attack against the government over the JPC report on the irregularities in the sale of 2G permits. The party alleged that the “substance" of the dissent notes had been altered in the final report that was tabled providing a clean chit to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Deputy leader of BJP Ravishankar Prasad, who was a member of the 30-member JPC, raised a point of order to allege that his dissent note had been altered and wondered whether the matter should not be debated in the House. Quoting a rule from Article 105 of the Constitution, he said that he had the right to administer a note of dissent as a member of the panel. “I had given a strong dissent note...the guilty have been left (out)...the report should not be tabled," Prasad said.
Strongly backing his colleague on the issue, leader of the opposition Arun Jaitley said: “Substance of the dissent note given by members of the House has been altered by the chairman. Please give us a ruling, whether it is permissible." The chair, however, allowed laying of the report saying a discussion on the issue cannot be allowed.
Sinha also said the BJP leadership is actively considering a no-confidence motion against Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar. The BJP leaders are annoyed that Kumar didn’t allow a debate on the JPC.
Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned without transacting any legislative business. The winter session began on 5 December and is scheduled to be concluded on 20 December.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to cut its losses, the government said it will try and pass the anti-graft Lokpal Bill in the current session of Parliament. “As far as the Lokpal Bill is concerned, I have given notice to chairman Rajya Sabha for taking up the Lokpal Bill... Government is taking all sincere step to pass the Lokpal Bill," junior personnel minister V. Narayanasamy told reporters.
Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), that was formed after a mass movement against corruption led by activist Anna Hazare, had made the passage of a stringent Lokpal Bill its main plank. The party has won 28 of 70 seats in Delhi’s legislative assembly in its debut as a political party.
PTI contributed to this story.