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Rediff.com  » News » BJP, CPI-M lukewarm over Mamata's no-confidence motion

BJP, CPI-M lukewarm over Mamata's no-confidence motion

November 19, 2012 13:58 IST

Other Opposition parties are wary that any such attempt that is likely to fail or even potentially risky will end up helping the Congress eventually, reports Sheela Bhatt.

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress party chief Mamata Banerjee is really left with no choice other than bringing in a no-confidence motion in Parliament against the United Progressive Alliance government, according to a member of Parliament from her party.

According to this Trinamool MP, Banerjee has been consistent in opposing the UPA government and she is doing what people expect her to do: Stand by her convictions.

"How can she not register her protest against such a corrupt government when Parliament opens for the winter session?" the Trinamool MP asked.

"She has now set the cat among the pigeons. Let the people judge which leader is fake and which leader is sincere in opposing the arrogant UPA government," the MP added.

Banerjee's announcement about a no-confidence motion -- to embarrass the UPA government -- has been, expectedly, not appreciated by the Communist Party of India-Marxist or even the Bharatiya Janata Party.

CPI-M and BJP leaders think any such attempt that is likely to fail or is even potentially risky would end up helping the Congress eventually.

Also, helping Banerjee would mean inviting the prospect of an early Lok Sabha election. If Banerjee's no-confidence move succeeds, the UPA government will be ousted from office.

No major Opposition party is ready to elevate the Bengal chief minister's stature in national politics to that level so swiftly.

Banerjee, however, gives a damn for such political calculations.

It is a win-win situation for her, claims a Trinamool party official. A no-confidence motion against the government means serious business in Parliament and Banerjee is obviously aware of this.

According to this Trinamool party leader, Banerjee is focusing on the situation in West Bengal while bringing in the no-confidence motion in Delhi. She is asking a simple question in her home turf: Are the Congress and her arch-rival, the CPI-M, coming closer, as they had after the 2004 general election?

If the CPI-M does not have a clandestine arrangement with the Congress, why then it is not supporting her no-confidence motion to throw out this "minority government"? "Why are they (the CPI-M) trying to save the government inside the House while opposing it in public," asks the Trinamool leader.

CPI-M MP Sitaram Yechury has rebuffed Banerjee's move, stating, 'Let her bring in the support of 50 MPs', which is mandatory to introduce a non-confidence motion in Parliament.

Banerjee's Trinamool party has 19 MPs in the Lok Sabha. A few Independent MPs, MPs from Jharkhand-based parties and some Muslim MPs have met her over this issue.

Banerjee's interactions with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance have so far not yielded positive results.

MPs have to decide if they want elections within the next six months or want to take that call after the Budget session of Parliament.

Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati has already assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that she will not support Banerjee's no-confidence motion.

Yechury has passed the buck by pointing out that once the Trinamool gets the support of the Samajwadi Party and BSP, the CPI-M will consider supporting her motion.

Leaders of various political parties have sought to know why the Trinamool wants to bring in a motion which will surely be defeated because the Samajwadi Party and BSP seem to be supporting the government till the Union Budget is passed early next year.

Also, if the no-confidence move is defeated, the UPA will claim victory and endorsement for its policies. The serious charges of corruption against the ruling alliance may also get diluted.

If the motion is introduced and if it fails to pass, no MP can move another no-confidence motion for the next six months.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, it is believed, is keen on an early Lok Sabha election. But due to compulsions within his party and the fact that the state government in Uttar Pradesh, headed by his party and his son Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, is yet to settle down, Mulayam Singh wants an ultimatum to be served to the UPA government after the Budget.

Banerjee disagrees with the Samajwadi Party as she thinks the Congress needs time to repair the damage to its image. The Union Budget will be the Congress's vehicle to reclaim its aam aadmi constituency. She is in no mood to give the Congress any time to reclaim its credibility.

The division among the Opposition parties is clearly advantageous to the Congress. The BJP has, so far, not shown any sign of wanting to embarrass the UPA government through a no-confidence motion.

Taking stock of the situation, the CPI-M has served a notice to move a motion which will call for voting against the government's decision to introduce Foreign Direct Investment in the retail sector. Already, several parties including the Samajwadi Party, BSP, BJP and UPA constituent Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have declared their opposition to FDI in retail.

With Banerjee's decision to bring in a no-confidence motion, the fate of the CPI-M's motion is uncertain.

Many leaders believe the Samajwadi Party and the BSP, which are usually cagey about their support, would surely have been trapped if the voting on FDI had taken place. These parties are the Congress's lifeline and would have had no escape route if the CPI-M's motion against FDI had been put to vote.

Those who do not want an early election will now resort to the 'secular parties' argument.

As the Gujarat assembly election is a few weeks away, no anti-BJP party will be in a rush for political radicalism, as Banerjee would want them to be.

These parties would prefer to wait and watch Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's performance in the election. Modi's success or failure will change the course of national politics.

Banerjee is aware of allegations that 'communal forces' provide support to her covertly.

'It is wrong for the BJP to be dubbed an untouchable,' the West Bengal chief minister has said.

'When the Congress talks to the BJP, it is touchable. When other political parties want to talk to the BJP for political reasons, on political grounds, then it is untouchable,' Banerjee has said. 'This cannot be. The prime minister sits with (BJP leader) Sushmaji (Swaraj), (Congress president) Soniaji (Gandhi) sits with (L K) Advaniji -- that is not considered wrong.'

'Why will it be wrong for the Trinamool Congress?' Banerjee asked. 'This is not a religious issue or a vote-bank issue or even an alliance issue. This issue is about corruption and the motherland.'

The Congress is counting on the fissures within the anti-Congress forces to survive the winter session of Parliament so that it can present the Union Budget next February.

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi