No-confidence motion | Ayes or nays? Unaligned parties weigh choice

YSRCP announces support for government in the no-confidence vote; 12 MPs of the BJD still awaiting decision, but sources say they are likely to abstain from voting; with no whip issued yet to 10 BSP MPs, they may go for a conscience vote; the numbers are clearly in favour of the ruling NDA

Updated - July 29, 2023 11:56 am IST

Published - July 27, 2023 08:17 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Parties unaligned to either NDA or INDIA— who account for 64 Lok Sabha seats — have taken a range of stances on how they will vote on counting day.

Parties unaligned to either NDA or INDIA— who account for 64 Lok Sabha seats — have taken a range of stances on how they will vote on counting day. | Photo Credit: Sansad TV via PTI 

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla’s acceptance of the Congress’ motion of no-confidence against the (National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government will see a neat division between the ruling alliance and the Opposition’s Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). However, parties unaligned to either bloc — who account for 64 Lok Sabha seats — have taken a range of stances on how they will vote on counting day.

First off the bat was Andhra Pradesh’s ruling party, the YSR Congress Party, which has declared that its 22 Lok Sabha MPs will support the government in the no-confidence vote, thereby distancing themselves from the Opposition bloc. “How does bringing a no-confidence motion help the country? Trying to weaken the Central government at this time of disturbance in Manipur and two hostile neighbours is not in the national interest. It is time to work together and not against each other. The YSRCP shall support the government and vote against the motion,” tweeted YSRCP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Sai Reddy.

Also Read: 11 parties with 91 MPs remain on fence as BJP, Congress sew up alliances

BJP, BSP undecided

Odisha’s ruling party, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) also has a significant presence in the non-aligned bloc, with 12 Lok Sabha MPs, but the party has not made its stance as clear as the YSRCP. “We are still waiting for a decision on the issue,” said Pinaki Misra, the BJD’s floor leader in the Lok Sabha. When the NDA government last faced a trust vote in 2018, the BJD had abstained from voting’ sources say that, in all likelhood, this will be the party’s course of action this time as well.

Also in the undecided category are the 10 Lok Sabha MPs of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). No whip has been issued as of now, but the uncertain equations between the party’s high command and individual MPs have made the situation ambiguous. For example, BSP MP Ritesh Pandey is facing a political conundrum within his own family, as his father, a long time associate of BSP leader Mayawati, switched sides to the Samjwadi Party (SP) during the last Assembly election. Amroha MP Kunwar Danish Ali on Thursday sharply criticised Union Minister Piyush Goyal’s comments on the black-clad opposition, clearly demonstrating where his sympathies lay. MPs from this party may well go for a conscience vote, going where their inclination — rather than the party whip — takes them.

Also Read: Which are the 26 parties in the INDIA combine, the face of Opposition unity for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls? 

TDP dilemma

The three MPs of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are also in a cleft stick, ever since party leader and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu made public his desire to rejoin the NDA, meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in early June. Since that time, the BJP has not said a word in public on a possible alliance with the TDP, and has appointed former Union Minister D. Purandareshwari as the president of its State unit, indicating that it wants to play hardball with regard to seat adjustment talks, if any. Sources said that the TDP may yet vote with the government.

The Hindu explains | No-confidence motions

As of now, the numerical chips are heavily weighted in favour of the government, with the NDA holding 332 seats, the INDIA group holding 142 seats and the “non aligned bloc” accounting for the remaining 64 seats. The total electorate includes 538 Lok Sabha MPs, with five vacant seats. The vote of no-confidence will likely be taken up next week.

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