Amid sloganeering by TRS and AIADMK MPs on separate issues in Lok Sabha on Monday, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said she cannot take up notices for a non-confidence motion against the government as the “House was not in order”. “I just can’t see anybody..I want to see and count the hon. Members. How can I count? I am sorry… How can I take them (no-confidence motion notices) up,” Mahajan said as members belonging to AIADMK and TRS raised slogans and waved placards. While AIADMK members held placards that said “Constitute Cauvery Management Board”, those held by TRS MPs said “Link MGNREGA to Farm Labour”. While the ruling BJP said it was ready for a discussion on any subject, including the no-confidence motion, TDP, which recently quit NDA, alleged that the government orchestrated the “drama”.
Notices for no-confidence motion were given by YSR Congress member Y V Subba Reddy and TDP MPs Thota Narasimham and Jayadev Galla. Both parties have been demanding special package for Andhra Pradesh — TDP quit the NDA over the issue last week. When Lok Sabha met for Question Hour, MPs of AIADMK, TRS and TDP came to the Well, raising slogans. Amid the ruckus, proceedings were adjourned in a minute. When the House reassembled at noon, MPs of AIADMK and TRS again reached the Well, but TDP and YSRCP members remained seated. Mahajan rejected adjournment motion notices given by Opposition parties on several issues. Then Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Some members have given notices for no-confidence motion. The government is ready for discussion on that as well”.
Speaker Mahajan requested AIADMK and TRS MPs to return to seats, but to no avail. “Unless the House is in order, I will not be in a position to count the 50 members who have to stand in their assigned places so that I can ascertain as to whether the leave has been granted or not,” she said. MPs from Congress, Left, TMC, NCP, TDP and other parties shouted that they support the motion. However, the Speaker refused to take it up. “Since the House is not in order, I will not be able to bring the notices before the House. I am sorry,” she said, and adjourned proceedings for the day.
“This is a drama, BJP has orchestrated it. They made (AIADMK and TRS) MPs come to the Well,” TDP MP J C Divakar Reddy said outside Parliament. P Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who resigned as Union minister when TDP parted ways with NDA, said the motion could have been taken up if the government had the “intention”. “If you have intention, you can ascertain. Main thing is the intention,” he told The Indian Express. BJP ally Shiv Sena said it will abstain if the no-confidence motion is put to vote.
The government blamed Opposition for the ruckus. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said, “For the last two weeks, Congress and other opposition parties are creating ruckus. If the House is not in order today, the blame goes to the Congress and they should think about it.” He said, “The Narendra Modi government is ready to face a no-confidence motion. We have support outside as well as inside the House. The BJP government is a government of a majority and when we consider the NDA, we have two-thirds majority.”
Rajya Sabha, too, was adjourned without any business being transacted amid protests by members from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. While TDP and Congress members raised the special status issue, members of DMK and AIADMK raised the Cauvery water issue. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked members to allow the House to function, but with members in the Well, he adjourned the House till Tuesday within 10 minutes of proceedings. He said Parliament has become a laughing stock because of repeated adjournments due to protests.
BJP sources, meanwhile, said that in view of continuous disruptions, the government is likely to opt for early adjournment of Budget session. Senior party leaders indicated the session could be adjourned sine die this week. “What’s the point in continuing like this?” a BJP leader asked. The second part of the budget session resumed on March 5 and is scheduled to conclude on April 6.