For the first time in 15 years, the lower house of the Parliament held a debate on a no-confidence motion on Friday, moved by the TDP and the Congress, which the NDA government won comfortably.
The motion for want of confidence in the council of ministers was defeated by the government with 325 votes, against 126 votes for the motion from the opposition. No one abstained during the vote, however several members -- including those from the BJD -- were not present in the House during the vote.
As the debate continued late into the night, the voting was held around 11 pm, after almost 12 hours of debate.
Just ahead of the vote, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke for close to an hour and a half, and the TDP created a ruckus during the speech, with chants of 'We want justice.'
The BJP-led government had in the morning expressed confidence of getting the necessary numbers and winning the trust vote.
While the TDP had moved the motion over the Centre’s refusal to grant Andhra Pradesh a special category status, the Congress had moved the motion targeting the Centre over various issues like cow vigilantism, lynchings and atrocities towards Dalits.
Before the debate began, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), which has 19 MPs, walked out of the Lok Sabha and the Shiv Sena, with 18 members, decided to abstain from voting.
TDP MP Jayadev Galla opened the debate on the no-confidence motion and attacked the Centre over its failed promises to Andhra Pradesh.
Srinivas Kesineni of the TDP, who had moved the no-confidence motion, requested Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to allow TDP MP from Guntur, Jayadev Galla, to initiate the debate.
Beginning his speech, the TDP MP stated that the no-confidence motion was moved against the Centre due to a lack of fairness, lack of trust, lack of priority and the lack of an unbiased approach towards Andhra Pradesh.
“The saga of Andhra Pradesh during this Modi-Shah regime is a saga of empty promises. This is not a war between the TDP and the BJP. It is a fight between morality and majority, between the Modi regime and the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a dharmayudha,” Galla said in the Lok Sabha.
The Congress’s charge was led by President Rahul Gandhi, who attacked the government over demonetisation, women’s safety in India, GST and the Rafale deal.
Targeting Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was present in the House, Rahul said the price per plane during the UPA regime was Rs 520 crore but when Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to France, due to "some magic powers", the price per plane rose to Rs 1,600 crore.
An irked BJP has moved a privilege motion against the Congress President for levelling "baseless allegations" against the government on the Rafale deal and misleading the Parliament. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the details of the deal cannot be revealed since a secrecy agreement was signed in 2008 with France and Rafale deal was also covered in it.
The House witnessed drama when Rahul Gandhi, after completing his speech, walked up to PM Modi and gave him a hug
“Aap logon ke andar mere liye nafrat hai, aap mujhe Pappu aur bohotgaaliyan dekar bula sakte hain, lekin mere andar aapke liye nafrat nahi hai (You hate me, you call me ‘Pappu’ and abuse but I do not feel any hatred towards you),” Rahul said, before he walked up to PM Modi to embrace him.
The AIADMK had stated that the party will not be back the no-confidence motion. “The no confidence motion was brought due to Andhra Pradesh’s problems. Which state supported us, our people and our farmers during the struggle for the Cauvery Management Board? No state came forward,” he had asked on Thursday.
The no-confidence motion against the government was moved by the TDP on the first day of the budget session. The party has been demanding a floor test since the last session of Parliament, protesting the refusal on part of the Centre to grant a special category status to Andhra Pradesh.