Barely five minutes or so into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech during the no-confidence motion debate, members of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), one of whom had moved the motion, came down to the Well of the House. It was reminiscent of the scenes of just a couple of months ago, when protests by TDP MPs, among a few others, had managed to stall Budget Session proceedings.
But this was at the end of a long day, and Modi continued his speech for more than 90 minutes.
Soon as the eleven TDP members reached the Well, BJP MP Anurag Thakur blocked them from moving towards the Prime Minister. Joined by his colleague Kirit Somaiya, Thakur put himself between the TDP leaders and the path that led to Modi, who had stopped speaking to let the impasse be sorted.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari tried to negotiate with the MPs from Andhra, but they did not yield. Gadkari managed to convince his party leaders to return to their seats. The TDP politicians raised slogans demanding “justice” for their state, as Modi started speaking again. Gadkari eventually managed to convince them to return.
That was how it continued until Modi finally decided to discuss Andhra Pradesh. He started with how the Congress bifurcated the state – to ostensibly reap political dividends. He compared it to the creation of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, and pointed out that there were no fights in any of those cases.
The division, he said, was not new for the Congress, and accused the party of dividing Pakistan from India. For both these divisions, Modi said, people are still paying the price.
He said that unlike in Andhra Pradesh, the TRS in Telangana acted with “maturity” and started “working towards development”. At this, the TDP leaders returned to the Well with their slogans, but Modi did not halt. He said he had told Chandrababu Naidu, the TDP leader and Andhra Pradesh CM, “aap YSR ke jaal mein phans rage ho” (you are getting trapped in YSR’s web), referring to Naidu’s rival party, the YSR Congress led by Jagan Mohan Reddy.
As the no-confidence motion was moved by TDP’s Kesineni Srinivas, he was afforded the privilege of responding to Modi. But he was cut short by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who said he wasn’t raising any substantial points and only focusing on jibes at Modi, calling him a “drama artist” and an “actor”.
But before his speech was cut short, Srinivas mentioned that neither Congress nor the BJP had done for the people AP what they had promised.