Efforts to initiate a No Confidence Motion against the ruling party in India have stalled due to noisy protests taking place in the Lok Sabha. Sumitra Mahajan, the Speaker of the house, thus had to adjourn the house till tomorrow.
This is the first no confidence motion being initiated against the current BJP led NDA government which came into power in 2014.
The No Confidence Motion
The Motion of No Confidence in India is only introduced through the Lok Sabha. It is the lower house of the Indian Parliament. The no confidence motion is passed if the elected parliament comes to the majority consensus that the head of the government cannot carry out his duties. In case of India, if the motion passes the Lok Sabha, then it is debated upon in Rajya Sabha and another vote is held. If a motion is passed by both the houses, then the government in-charge must vacate its position and step down. The first time the no confidence motion vote was held in India was in 1963. It was held after the disastrous India-China war that India lost.
One of the most important confidence votes that was held in recent Indian history was in 2008. It was against the Congress-led UPA government. It was considered so important that parties on both sides had MPs from their sick beds and even from prison cells to take part in the vote. The vote eventually resulted in favor of the ruling government.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is the current ruling party in India. It is the centre-right coalition of political parties. It was first formed in 1998 and is led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Its chairman was the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Representing the alliance are L. K. Advani, former Deputy Prime Minister, who is the acting chairman of the Alliance, Narendra Modi, current Prime Minister and Leader of the House in Lok Sabha; and Arun Jaitley, Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha and Finance Minister. The coalition was in power from 1998 to 2004. The alliance returned to power in the 2014 General election with a combined vote share of 38.5%. Its leader, Narendra Modi, was sworn in as Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014.
Telugu Desam Party
The TDP is a regional political party that is most active in Southern India (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana). The party was founded by N. T. Rama Rao on 29 March 1982. Since 1995, the party is headed by N. Chandrababu Naidu, the incumbent Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
After a four-year long alliance with BJP, the TDP announced that it had pulled its support from the ruling party on March 16th, 2018. The disagreement between the two factions began as the union government did not grant Special Category status to Andhra Pradesh. Another party, YSR Congress also voiced its concerns over the centre’s decision. The two parties tried to initiate a no confidence motion in the parliament.
However, these efforts were stalled on March 19, 2018, in part due to noisy protests that took place in Lok Sabha. The speaker of the house, Sumitra Mahajan, thus adjourned the house till the next day.
Excluding the Speaker, the strength of the current Lok Sabha is 539. Out of these seats, BJP has 275 members. This makes it likely for the party not to suffer any consequences as that is more than the majority of 270. The party also has a number of allies in its support. Some of the parties that have spoken in favor of the no confidence motion are Congress (48 votes), Trinamool Congress (34) and TDP. Some of the prominent parties that have yet to take any sides in the escalating crisis are Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK and Bjiu Janata Dal.
“We joined the NDA in the first place only to protect our state’s interests in the aftermath of bifurcation. We waited for four years with the hope that the [central government] will honor all the promises but it only meted out injustice to us,” Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has said.
Some political observers and politicians have stated that the latest development indicates that the current government is not “unshakeable.” "The TDP wants to bring in the no-confidence motion for its personal political reasons and not for any 'nationalist' reason," opined the Shiv Sena noted in an editorial in a party run newsletter called Saamana. "In 2019, there will be a blast of resentment that is prevailing among masses today. That time, a no-confidence motion will be passed with a complete majority," the Sena claimed.
Our assessment is that even though this will not result in the government losing its power, the no confidence motion will weaken the ruling party ahead of the 2019 general elections. It might also embolden other NDA allies to table their own regional demands so that they can maximize their own electoral gains.