PM Modi wins the trust vote, Rahul Gandhi the debate

Even as the BJP initiated a breach of privilege motion against Rahul and PM Modi accused him of playing with national security, it was the PM who came across as petulant and juvenile in the Lok Sabha

PTI Photo
PTI Photo

NH Web Desk

As expected, the Government on Friday won the trust vote comprehensively with as many as 325 Lok Sabha members voting against the motion. But the day belonged to the opposition, which exposed BJP’s desperate dependence on the Prime Minister and his oratory skills.

The Government was aided by abstention by the Shiv Sena and the Biju Janata Dal and by the support extended by allies like LJP, TRS, AIADMK and JD(U) among others.

But the day’s laurels went to the Opposition parties which unexpectedly were able to put the Government on the mat. The Opposition benches were calm and composed throughout the debate while members on the treasury benches were restive, heckled the speakers and tried to disrupt speeches of Congress President Rahul Gandhi among others. Little wonder that at the end of the day, the defeated beamed like victors while the victorious wore long faces.

The eleven-hour long debate in the Lok Sabha saw some exceptional interventions by Jayadev Galla of the TDP, who moved the motion, and Congress President Rahul Gandhi. The opposition had the better of the exchanges with even the likes of Asaduddin Owaisi, Badruddin Ajmal, Dinesh Trivedi and others making full use of the little time, often just two minutes, to make their point.

The Prime Minister in his almost two-hour long reply mostly read out from files, notings and books and seemed out of sorts. Despite the trademark mimicry, expressive hand movements and his mocking tone and tenor, the unusually flat address sounded less than convincing, notwithstanding TV channels describing his rebuttal as stunning. For a change, it was the Prime Minister who read out from notes and files while Rahul Gandhi delivered an extempore speech.

The reply was also marked by interruptions from TDP MPs who accused him of lying and not addressing their concerns. The PM revealed that he had called Chandrababu Naidu and told him that Naidu had been trapped by the YSR Congress of Jaganmohan Reddy and would not be able to come out. That obviously did not satisfy the TDP members who kept up a steady chant of ‘ shame, shame’. When was the last time Prime Minister Modi had to deliver speeches in Parliament through such disruptive slogans? It was not just the Prime Minister but most members on the treasury benches wore grim faces and appeared in a state of shock. They had not bargained for the sustained onslaught by speakers from the opposition.

The debate on the no-confidence motion, which had been described as suicidal for the opposition, was seized by the Congress President Rahul Gandhi to deliver arguably his best address in Parliament till now. He surprised treasury benches with his direct attacks on the PM and the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, reducing Anurag Thakur of the BJP into a fuming, frothing in the mouth and screaming caricature. Thakur in fact threatened at one time to stop members of the opposition from speaking.

The BJP fielded Jabalpur MP Rakesh Singh and the Home Minister Rajnath Singh to oppose the motion. The Home minister ended up making several curious statements. He declared that in the last four years there was no terror attack in India but qualified it by adding, ‘ in the metros’. He also referred to the cycle of time, the Kalchakra, and reminded the opposition that pride comes before the fall ! He could as well have been speaking of his own Government.

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Published: 21 Jul 2018, 1:33 AM