New Delhi: Leaders from two opposition parties – the Congress and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi – have moved no-confidence motions against the Narendra Modi government in parliament on Wednesday morning. Parliament has seen an impasse since the monsoon session began, with opposition parties insisting that the prime minister talk about the serious ethnic conflict in Manipur on the floor of the house and allow for an open discussion.
While the Congress is a part of the recently announced INDIA alliance of 26 opposition parties, the BRS is not.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has a clear majority in parliament, so the opposition cannot be hoping to win the motion. So what is the agenda behind it?
The Wire breaks down how the opposition may be trying to make some valuable points by filing a no-confidence motion.
1. It helps establish the fact that governments come and go and are accountable. There is nothing ‘perpetual’ or forever about any government, even if it has won a majority, twice, running.
2. The prime minister does not address Parliament and frequently picks ‘address to the nation’ modes, like YouTube or his own social media channels – or outside Parliament – as stages for policy or other announcements. The ‘temple of democracy’ is spoken of and worshipped, but its value as an institution that can be a check on the Executive is under serious questioning. Global Indices on Democracy whether V-Dem, Freedom House or International IDEA have recorded the decline of India’s Parliament as a check on government. A motion like this, how it is handled, draws attention to the institution and its ways and forces the ruling party to be careful about process.
3. There is a drive to establish which opposition party is really the one which is anti BJP. There is a vast line of ‘middlers’, parties like BRS, YSRCP, BJD and numerous others, not amongst the new NDA (38) or INDIA (26) parties that are then forced to take a call and show their cards. This helps draw the line.
4. Within INDIA too, there is Little INDIA, some doubts and concerns about certain parties, about where they really stand. For example, a sizeable faction of the Nationalist Congress Party is now with the BJP government in Maharashtra and there is a lot of interest in which way things will go. This helps establish who is standing where. As whatever may be the chances of winning it, no government can take a no-confidence motion non-seriously.