Source: The Hitavada      Date: 22 Jul 2018 10:58:29

THAT the no-confidence motion moved by Opposition parties against the National Democratic Alliance Government headed by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi would be defeated solidly, was a foregone conclusion. Despite the fact the Opposition knew it already that its move would meet such a fate, it still went ahead with it simply because it just wanted to create an unnecessary noise against the Prime Minister and possibly malign his image. None of those purposes was served. Much to the contrary, the mileage the Prime Minister got on the occasion is tremendous and will help the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the NDA constituent-parties in the elections to be held in less than a year. 

Mr. Narendra Modi made a great impact not just on the Members of the Lok Sabha but also the whole nation when he spoke for nearly 90 minutes in his response to the no-confidence motion. So successful and effective was the handling of the challenge by the Government that the division gave a 325-126 verdict dispelling whatever doubts some sections might have harboured about the popularity of the Prime Minister. Not only did he respond correctly to the Opposition charges, but also made a great impression on the people of being in total control of the country’s political process as well as that of governance.

But if that was the story of the Treasury Benches, the picture was dismal in sharp contrast on the Opposition Benches -- sullen faces and somber mood as speaker after speaker from the Government side demolished all the points the Opposition had raised in an attempt to sully the Government on its programmes and welfare schemes. The worst was the case with Congress President Mr. Rahul Gandhi whose speech did contain some good points, but whose overall conduct on the floor of the House was rather funny and not in conformity with the dignity expected from a person of his stature. Yet, he did win hearts when he walked across the well and hugged Mr. Narendra Modi. He also said, he did not mind the BJP calling him ‘Pappu’.

The lighter side apart, it must be recorded that the Opposition tried its best to build a strong case against the Modi Government. Unfortunately, most Opposition speakers appeared more cantankerous than serious. The worst example of this was when a Telugu Desam Party Member was allowed to give a return reply to the Prime Minister’s statement. He was plain frivolous and showed an utter lack of respect for the parliamentary process and the given moment.

The most pertinent gain of this no-confidence motion, undeniably a rare occasion in parliamentary history, was a fillip to public discourse in India in the election year. Even though the outcome was a foregone conclusion in favour of the Government, the event did offer a platform to all parties to state their part of public discourse and help the people understand the overall perspective of domestic issues. True to the calling of the moment, the BJP and its allies did make the best use of the opportunity, which could not be said about the Opposition parties. In fact, towards the end, the Telugu Desam Party -- the initiator of the motion -- looked almost ludicrous, thanks to the Prime Minister’s detailed statement highlighting even the Andhra cause, and also due to the overall conduct of the TDP MPs during the debate. They started the fiasco and others added to it collectively.