While an embarrassed government is using technical procedures to ensure that the no-confidence motion does not come up for discussion, the Seemandhra MPs are struggling to get the required support for it. Anita Katyal reports.
The fate of the no-confidence motion, moved by six Congress MPs from Seemandhra along with members of the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress to protest the formation of a separate state of Telangana, hangs in the balance as the Lok Sabha failed to transact any business on Tuesday, December 10.
If the present mood in Parliament is any indication, the ongoing winter session is set for a washout, which will render the no-trust motion a non-starter.
Recharged after its spectacular victory in the recent assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party is in no mood to cooperate with the United Progressive Alliance government.
The UPA government's Parliamentary managers on Tuesday sought to bury the no-confidence issue in technicalities. They pointed out that Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had referred to the notices of no-confidence received by her and called the House to order for a discussion.
The Speaker's pleas, however, were drowned by protesting members. Consequently, the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath is learnt to have argued that since the no-confidence motion could not be taken up because of continuing disruptions in the Lok Sabha, it had been rendered infructuous.
The issue remains inconclusive as the Speaker is yet to announce her decision.
On the other hand, the Seemandhra MPs maintain that the motion is alive as it had not been moved in the House. They plan to submit fresh notices. But Parliamentary rules state that a no-confidence motion cannot be moved twice in one session.
While an embarrassed government is using technical procedures to ensure that the motion does not come up for discussion, the Seemandhra MPs are struggling to get the required support for it.
The MPs have claimed the backing of 84 members.
According to rules, any member can move a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, but it must have the support of 50 members, which is determined through a head count on the floor of the House.
Despite claims made by the Seemandhra MPs, it does not appear that they have the numbers.
While the BJP will find it difficult to support the MPs because of its pro-Telangana stand, the response of other political parties has not been encouraging.
The Samajwadi Party has moved an adjournment on the Andhra Pradesh bifurcation issue while the Trinamool Congress, which has always been against the division of any state, has refused to back the MPs.
"The people have already expressed their no confidence in this government, where is the need to move a motion in Parliament?" West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee told reporters.
The sight of its own party members moving a no-confidence motion has left the Congress-led UPA government red-faced.
Already weakened after the Congress rout in the assembly elections, the Congress leadership has been further undermined by the defiance displayed by the Seemandhra MPs.
The Seemandhra MPs are fighting for their political survival. They are aware that they cannot hope to win back their seats in the wake of the Congress party's decision to divide the state.
The decision to go ahead with a no-confidence motion is their way of keeping the issue alive and sending out a message to their electorate that they had gone as far as to challenge their party leadership for the cause of a united Andhra Pradesh.