Andhra Pradesh chief minister ChandrababuNaidu announced in the AP assembly on Friday that he had been to New Delhi 27 times in the last four years to promote the interests of the state but to no avail.
“Naidu may have pulled out of the NDA government fearing that he would be upstaged by bête noire Jagan Reddy but the fact is that he was never comfortable with Modi,” a senior TDP leader confided. “However, we are surprised that so many parties are jumping to be part of the no-confidence motion which basically shows how much opposition there is to Modi,” the leader added.
For the record, the no confidence motion in the Lok Sabha was mooted by Jagan to force the hands of Naidu. Although the BJP has a majority in Lok Sabha and will not be toppled by it, the Congress, AIDMK, TMC, CPI, BJD and CPM and AIMIM (All India Majlis-Ittehadul- Muslimeen) have lent support to the motion proposed separately by Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party and Jagan’s YSR Congress Party. TDP moved its own no confidence motion alleging that the YSR Congress was in collusion with BJP. In other words, YSR Congress was not serious about the motion. Earlier TDP was planning to support the YSR Congress no confidence move. All the parties have their strong reasons to oppose the Modi government.
But Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) which rules neighboring Telangana has refused to support the no confidence move dubbing it as a ‘gimmick’. Incidentally TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao has recently mooted a third front comprising regional parties opposed to both the Congress and BJP. Apparently, he has been in touch with the chief minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee. But analysts have been skeptical about the Rao move and aver that his game is to divide the anti BJP vote and thus the move is designed to help the BJP.
This is discounted by TRS leaders who point out that their party moved a bill for Muslim reservations recently. The BJP is almost non- existent in Telangana, so it may make political sense for Rao to have a tacit understanding with BJP. The Congress however has a significant presence in Telangana.
Analysts said that the no confidence move had been gaining traction all through Friday because many are disenchanted with the Modi model of governance. This is like a one-man government run primarily from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with only marginal roles even for cabinet ministers. In fact, demonetisation that took away 86 per cent of India’s currency at one stroke compromising the Indian economy for many months and caused enormous hardship for the people is the starkest manifestation of this PMO governance.
The demonetisation is believed to have been effected with virtually no consultations with stakeholders. A lot of parties are also uncomfortable about the status of minorities after the Modi government came to power. Many important members of the BJP are also unhappy with Modi but cannot dare to say anything. They point out that the party has been reduced to a ‘two-men affair’ with Modi and Amit Shah ruling the roost and intra party democracy all but non- existent.
“Modiji exudes power, his body language smacks of power. We can’t intrinsically trust him. There is this fear factor,” a BJP worthy remarked.
On Monday, the opposition parties are likely to push the no confidence motion vigorously. On Friday the Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ruled that there was no order in the house even as 50 MPs including from Congress and the Left parties stood up as the no confidence motion was sought to be introduced. A minimum support of 50 MPs is required for a no confidence motion.
Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said that the house and the country have full confidence in the government and the Prime Minister. But as things are moving it could well become Narendra Modi versus the others in Elections 2019.