Opposition’s no-confidence motion against Modi government defeated in Lok Sabha

Updated - August 10, 2023 09:53 pm IST

Published - August 10, 2023 09:52 pm IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi replies to the motion of no-confidence in the Lok Sabha during the Monsoon session of Parliament on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi replies to the motion of no-confidence in the Lok Sabha during the Monsoon session of Parliament on Thursday. | Photo Credit: PTI photo

Lok Sabha members on Thursday defeated the no-confidence motion brought by Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, after the Opposition walked out of the House during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address. On the other hand, the government introduced the contentious Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and terms of office) Bill, 2023 in Rajya Sabha amid continued protests by the Opposition.

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Lok Sabha

Prime Minister Modi finally attended the proceedings in the Lower House on Thursday to reply after a debate on the no-confidence motion brought against his government. Mr. Modi spoke for almost two hours and touched on the topic of violence in Manipur, saying that peace will be restored soon. “Thereafter, we will leave no stone unturned to expedite the pace of development of Manipur,” he said.

Mr. Modi also focused on recounting Congress’s shortcomings from the past when the party was in power, going back all the way to the 1960s.

Drawing a comparison with a similar motion moved in 2018, Mr. Modi accused the Opposition of “not preparing well” once again. He launched a scathing attack at Opposition’s Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc, saying that it was a “guarantee” of India’s “bankruptcy, policy paralysis, imbalance, corruption, dynasty politics and unemployment”.

The INDIA bloc was a congregation of parties allying for their personal convenience, Mr. Modi added. “Existing conditions dictate that you are walking hand in hand, but the moment the situation changes, knives might come out,” he said. Prime Minister Modi charged them of creating a “durbar” system (imperial court) that snatched opportunities from the common people. He also expressed his displeasure over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks against “Bharat Mata” on Wednesday.

The Opposition walked out of the Lower House during Mr. Modi’s address, although the numbers in the House were already stacked against them. Mr. Gogoi’s absence from the Lok Sabha also meant that he lost the opportunity to question Mr. Modi after his speech.

Earlier in the day, the Lower House was briefly adjourned due to persistent sloganeering by the Opposition over the issue of Manipur. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman resumed the debate on the no-confidence once proceedings restarted. “People moved no confidence against the UPA in 2014 and 2019 and defeated them. The situation will be the same in 2024,” she said. Slamming the Opposition’s INDIA bloc, Ms. Sitharaman added that it was difficult to figure out if the parties in the alliance were fighting together or fighting each other. Refuting claims made by the Minister, several Opposition MPs walked out of the House, saying that the Centre was misleading the House.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi followed Ms. Sitharaman and backed the no-confidence motion. Taking a dig at the Centre and the Opposition, the MP said “neither “dukandar” (shopkeepers) nor “chowkidar” (guards) open their mouths when Muslims are oppressed”. Mr. Owaisi highlighted the atrocities against the Muslim community and asked what had happened to the government’s conscience. On the use of the ‘Quit India’ slogan by the BJP, the Hyderabad MP said if the party got to know that a Muslim coined the term, they would stop using it.

Mahua Moitra of the TMC also trained guns at the Centre, demanding the government to remove the Manipur Chief Minister and restore peace in the State. Saying India has lost confidence in Prime Minister Modi, she remarked, “This no-confidence motion is to break this code of silence on Manipur, the most pressing issue of the day, where we are all supposed to ‘raho chup’ (keep silent). This is not just a no-confidence in government motion, this is a have confidence in India motion.”

MP Chirag Paswan of the LJP (Ramvilas) opposed the motion, saying that the Manipur crisis should be a collective responsibility and not a selective responsibility.

Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury once again questioned the Prime Minister’s silence on the issue and said the no-trust motion had forced Mr. Modi to Parliament. Later in the day, Mr. Chowdhury was suspended from the House for unruly behaviour.

Rajya Sabha

Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed one Bill amid continuous protests in the House, while two more Bills were introduced. Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, once again, refused to admit notices under Rule 267 which called for suspension of legislative business to discuss the issue of Manipur violence.

Pointing out that the logjam in the House had persisted for 14-15 days, DMK MP Tiruchi Siva said that the Opposition was submitting notices about Manipur under rule 267, while Treasury benches wanted a discussion under rule 176. Mr. Siva said that there should be a discussion in any case, having submitted a notice under rule 167 – a different rule – for the consideration of the Chair.

Opposition and government continue to battle over rules in Rajya Sabha

As both the Opposition and the Treasury benches clashed over this, Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said that there should be a middle path – a discussion could be held under rule 167 and the Prime Minister should be present in the House. As Treasury benches clamoured, Mr. Kharge asked if the Prime Minister is “param atma” (god), that he cannot come to the House. Mr. Kharge’s statement only aggravated the chaos in the House.

Later in the day, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal introduced the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and terms of office) Bill, 2023 in the Upper House. This was followed by Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw introducing the Post Office Bill, 2023, to amend the law that consolidates matters related to post offices in the nation.

The Pharmacy Amendment Bill, 2023 was moved for consideration and passing by Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, even as intense sloganeering persisted. A proposal to refer the Bill to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha was shot down, and the Bill was quickly passed by voice vote.

The House was adjourned early to reconvene at 11.00 a.m. on Friday for its last day of the Monsoon session.

Compiled by Sruthi Darbhamulla, Sumeda, Saptaparno Ghosh, and Priyali Prakash

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