The Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP-JJP alliance government in Haryana sailed through the floor test Wednesday, comfortably defeating the no-confidence motion moved against it by the Congress.
The motion was defeated following division of votes with Speaker Gian Chand Gupta announced, at the end of a marathon six-hour debate, that 55 members voted against the motion while 32 backed it.
Given the effective strength of 88 members in the House, the ruling alliance needed 45 votes to defeat the motion.
While Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who had moved the motion, demanded secret voting, the Speaker asked the members favouring the motion to rise from their seats following which a headcount was done.
Those who voted against the motion included 39 of the 40 BJP members, 10 of ally Jannayak Janta Party, five Independents and Haryana Lokhit Party’s Gopal Kanda. Speaker, who too is a BJP leader, did not vote.
Apart from 30 members of the Congress, two Independents – Balraj Kundu (Meham) and Sombir Sangwan (Charkhi Dadri) – who had earlier withdrawn support to the alliance government, backed the motion. All three parties – BJP, JJP and Congress – had on Tuesday issued whips asking all their members to remain present in the House for full duration.
While the BJP-JJP alliance already had numbers in its favour, Hooda, while moving no-confidence motion against the 16-month old Khattar government, claimed the ruling dispensation has lost people’s trust.
Hooda, who was the first to speak on the motion, said, “This government is not a government of majority. It didn’t get majority in 2019. Rather, it got the support of another party. The party, JJP, that wanted to throw the BJP out of power, is now sitting with the government. This government has completely lost the people’s faith. These leaders can’t get into their own villages. They just keep flying around in helicopters that can’t land. The chief minister couldn’t even go to Panipat to unfurl the national flag on January 26. He had to fly to Panchkula. This is the condition of this government”.
“The government may have survived the no-confidence motion, but it has fallen in the eyes of the people,” the Leader of the Opposition said.
Urging Speaker to conduct a secret voting and pointing towards the treasury benches, Hooda said, “You have majority, you will raise your hands and prove it. But, show me if you can dare to go to your own constituencies… I would urge the Speaker to decide the motion by way of secret voting”.
Taking part in the debate, JJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala hit back at the Congress. “This motion shows the opposition’s frustration. You (opposition) have exposed yourself. Today, you are bringing no-confidence motion here. Tomorrow, you will bring it within your own party against your party president. Congress wants power. It should stop day dreaming,” Dushyant said.
CM Khattar said he was “grateful to Congress” for bringing in the no-trust motion as it gave him an opportunity to “give an account of my government”.
“They (Congress) are not going to come to power. No-confidence is an old culture of Congress. They express no-confidence too quickly and easily. Everybody knows about their no-confidence among each other within their party. When you lose an election, you express no-confidence in EVMs. Evidences were also sought by the Congress when the surgical strikes took place,” Khattar said.
Two JJP MLAs, Ram Kumar Gautam and Devender Babli, who had been speaking against the government asking their party JJP to pull out of the alliance and had even several times threatened to resign if the ongoing standoff between farmers and Centre was not resolved, stood by their party in the House.
Babli, who a day ago said that JJP has no moral rights to be part of the government, expressed strong resentment in the House when Speaker informed him that Dushyant has not given his name in the list of party members who would be speaking during the debate on the no-confidence motion. Babli again threatened to resign. However, at the time of voting, he stood by his party side and voted against the motion.
Gautam, who too had been vociferously speaking against the three farm legislations, also voted against the no-confidence motion.
Earlier, touching upon the issue of farmers who are protesting against the Centre’s new farm laws, Hooda said the situation is such that ruling dispensation MLAs cannot even visit their constituencies. He demanded inclusion of nearly 250 farmers, who have died during their ongoing agitation, in the obituary references of the Haryana Assembly. The Congress leader claimed it was the BJP-JJP government which stopped farmers, used water cannons and even dug roads so that they could not march towards Delhi in November. “The government should know it cannot break farmers by such tactics,” he said.
Khattar, however, reached out to opposition telling them that they should stop instigating the peasants and instead come forward and tell farmers to end their agitation. He reiterated that “the three farm legislations shall not be repealed and it it had to happen, it would have happened two months ago”.
He said, “Only amendments can be introduced, be it by the government or the Supreme Court”.
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