Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government sailed through its first floor test in Lok Sabha by defeating the no-confidence motion moved by Telugu Desam Party on Friday.
The government had a comfortable majority of 325 votes in its favour, who voted against the motion compared to 126 votes by the opposition parties out of total 451 members of Parliament present in Lok Sabha.
Biju Janata Dal members had staged a walk-out while NDA ally Shiv Sena did not participate in the voting.
The NDA victory came after a 12-hour debate, followed by a 90-minute reply by the prime minister, during which he listed out the achievements of his government and underlined the failures of the Congress and its allies during their previous terms.
This was also the first major unity strength of the Opposition parties that are planning to come together for 'Grand Alliance' hoping to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2019 general elections.
Before the voting, Modi asked the Opposition to bring a similar motion again in 2024, clearly indicating that the BJP will be back in power again in 2019.
The motion moved by the TDP saw the MPs accusing the NDA government of neglecting Andhra Pradesh and not giving it Special Category Status.
However, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the other party affected by the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, supported the NDA.
Replying to charges made by the Opposition parties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a hard hitting speech attacked the Opposition parties for draining out the resources of the country for their own benefits.
While listing out the development work by his government, Prime Minister presented the report card of his government.
He also took a dig at the Opposition unity building up by alerting the possible allies to be wary of Congress reputation of cheating its partners and bringing down the governments after using them.
Modi also criticised TDP for being opportunist and walking out alliance in view of elections.
He said the NDA government was committed for the benefit of Andhra Pradesh people and assured that the Centre will work for the betterment of the state.
Earlier, the Lok Sabha saw a stormy time when Congress president Rahul Gandhi attacked the government accusing it on various counts. Rahul directly attacked Prime Minister over the Rafale deal, and demonitisation and went on to critise the government's failure in providing employment and containing increase in petrol prices.
Rahul's speech saw Treasury benches on feet, especially at the time when he spoke on the Rafale deal.
Rahul accused Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of lying to the nation about the secrecy pact with the government of France.
Participating in the debate, the Trinamool Congress claimed that the BJP will be defeated in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by the opposition parties which will join hands for a 'one-to-one' fight in each constituency and said the ruling party has already lost confidence of its allies and the people.
TMC leader Saugata Roy said the motion was moved by BJP's estranged ally TDP while current partner Shiv Sena, which is part of the government, has boycotted it.
Another former ally BJD staged a walkout even before the debate started.
"This showed that the no confidence has already taken place," he said.
"I can tell you that the BJP is going to lose the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. There will be a one-to-one fight everywhere," he said.
Roy accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of lowering public discourse through his public speeches on various issues and claimed that the announcements made on farmer welfare programmes were nothing but 'eye-wash'.
The TMC leader also claimed that due to demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, 25 lakh jobs were 'wiped out' and in return the government could detect just Rs 16,000 crore black money.
In his speech, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader P Venugopal accused the central government of giving step-motherly treatment to Tamil Nadu and sought more allocation of funds to the state.
"We are a large contributor to the government's revenue but what we get in return, very little," he said.
Venugopal alleged that Tamil Nadu has been penalised for achieving economic progress and controlling population.
The AIADMK leader asked the government not to bring the Dam Safety Bill without resolving the river water disputes in the country.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader B Vinod Kumar claimed that the Modi government has not been able to fulfil the expectations of the people.
He said the people of Telangana were annoyed with the Modi government at the outset of its rule in 2014 when a decision had been taken to merge seven 'mandals' of Khammam district of Telangana with Andhra Pradesh following bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Kumar demanded that the seven 'mandals' of Khammam district be returned to Telangana besides seeking financial assistance to implement various welfare projects.
Samajawadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said had the government kept the businessmen, farmers and youth happy, the country would have prospered.
"Farmers are unhappy because prices of fertilisers and seeds have increased, while the youth have no employment," he alleged.
He said the Samajwadi Party government, while it was in power in Uttar Pradesh from 2012-17, gave six lakh jobs to the youth.
Mohammad Salim (Communist Party of India-Marxist) mocked the government over its 'unfulfilled promises'.
Reading out from the BJP's 2014 Lok Sabha manifesto, Salim said while Modi promised to bring back black money, 'that has not happened. Instead, the Swiss banks have seen money from India rising by 50 per cent'.
He said demonetisation was the 'biggest economic gamble' by the Modi government and post note ban the liquidity in the market has increased by a billion rupees.
He also accused the government of siding with separatists for political purpose.
Tariq Anwar (Nationalist Congress Party) also alleged that the Modi government failed to fulfil promises made by it to the people of India.
Noting that inflation has risen and 31 economic offenders have fled the country after taking loans from banks, he said, "Modi government also misused Enforcement Directorate, Income Tax department and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)."
"The government failed to provide security to women of India," Anwar claimed.
He also alleged that the prime minister is 'silent' on issues like lynching of innocent citizens.
Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party) said there is no vacancy for the prime minister's post in 2019.
He noted that the Modi government electrified 18,000 villages before the deadline.
Paswan also insisted that the prime minister never said that Ram temple should be built in Ayodhya.
"He has said that we should wait for the court's judgment," the LJP leader pointed out.
Advising Congress President Rahul Gandhi to work hard and also introspect why the Congress is only ruling three states, Paswan said, "There is no vacancy for the prime minister's post in 2019 so he (Rahul) should target for 2024."
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the Modi government, which claims that it has electrified 18,000 villages, should answer as to who electrified the 6.23 lakh villages before that.
"Was there no electricity produced in the last 70 years. Then who electrified 6.1 lakh villages out of 6.23 lakh villages," he asked.
"If we had followed your (BJP's) example, then democracy would have come to an end," Kharge added.
Accusing the government of working against the ideals of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, Kharge said it has not yet come out with a 'small amendment' to the Lok Pal Act to make the leader of the largest opposition party a member.
"You do not have a large heart but talk big about democracy," he said, adding that he did not attend the meeting of the committee as he was only made a special invitee.
Kharge also regretted that the Modi government did not fulfil the promises made to Andhra Pradesh at the time of bifurcation of the state.
The Modi government did not accord Andhra Pradesh the special category status as was promised in the Rajya Sabha, he said, adding the BJP and Modi government were indulging in the policy of divide and rule.
The Modi government, he said, 'talks about Adanis and Ambanis but has yet to do anything worthwhile for the farmers'.
The number of farmer suicides have increased over the years notwithstanding the promise of doubling farmers income by 2022, he added.
He wanted to know when the Modi government will bring back Rs 80 lakh crore of black money parked in Swiss banks, when the government will deposit Rs 15 lakh in people's account, when 2 crore jobs per year will be generated.
"Good days have not come... now people think that good days will come when Modiji will go," he said, adding the government has only shown the citizens 'Mungerilal ke haseen sapne'.
Hari Babu Kambhampati (BJP) said that it was strange that the TDP, which had opposed the Congress, has joined hands with the same party.
He said that while the Modi government was willing to give more funds to Andhra Pradesh but the TDP-ruled state government was not responding.
If the state government incorporates a Special Purpose Vehicle for developing the state, the Centre would provide funds tomorrow, he said, adding the TDP was only interested in seeking special category status and not money.
J Jayavardhan (AIADMK) said that University Grants Commission (UGC) should not be replaced by Higher Education Commission as it would amount to infringement of the rights of the state.
He also suggested that the outstanding amount towards IGST (integrated goods and services tax) should be settled expeditiously as delay would harm the financial interest of the state.
Supporting the stand of the TDP, Dinesh Trivedi (TMC) said that if the party which was part of the government is aggrieved today, then what will the rest of the people feel.
He said the government is running away from reality of the country and 'hiding its head like an ostrich'.
"Democracy is in danger. This temple of democracy is in danger. Mobocracy cannot be the new normal," he said adding the condition of economy too is very bad.
P S Chandumajra (Shiromani Akali Dal) too supported the demand of the TDP for special status category to Andhra Pradesh but suggested that they should not trust the Congress.
Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav (Rashtriya Janata Dal) praised Rahul Gandhi's offensive against the government.
He said that Andhra Pradesh should get special status category. Yadav also criticised the Bihar government.
Participating in the debate, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah in his maiden speech in the 16th Lok Sabha raised the issue of peace in Kashmir and made an emotional appeal to government for starting dialogue with Pakistan.
"I am urging you... I am requesting you, for peace in Kashmir, please start dialogue with Pakistan. And I am saying this because I am an Indian...I was Indian and I will die an Indian," Abdullah said.
Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann attacked the government for 'obstructing' the work of his party government in Delhi and accused Prime Minister Modi of not fulfilling not a single promise made by him.
TDP MP Rammohan Naidu rejected all the BJP leaders' claims of Centre's assistance to Andhra Pradesh and said the NDA government cheated the people of the state.
Countering the opposition's allegations, Union Minister Anupriya Patel and BJP leader Virendra Singh, citing various initiates and welfare schemes started by Modi government, said people will again vote them to power.
Patel also mentioned about the government's attempt to give constitutional status to National Commission for Backwards Classes (NCBC).
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi and All India United Democratic Front MP Badrudin Ajmal claimed there was a fear among minorities especially Muslims and accused the ruling BJP of indulging in divisive politics.
Union Minister and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party leader Upendra Kushwaha made an appeal to give special package for Bihar.
Indian National Lok Dal MP Dushyanat Chautala and rebel Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party MP Renuka Butta also participated in the debate.
Rashtriya Lok Dal MP Tabassum Hassan, who was elected from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh in the recent bypolls, raised the issues related to sugarcane farmers.
With ANI inputs