The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance on Tuesday decided to lead the charge against the ruling coalition in the coming session of the Parliament and decided that it would move separate resolutions against FDI in multi-brand retail in both Houses.
Thereby, BJP seized the initiative from Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress and took upon itself the responsibility of embarrassing the government. These resolutions entail voting and if defeated the government does not lose power and go out of office but is severely reprimanded for pursuing ‘flawed’ policies.
The Left Front has also conceived of a similar move and they too are against Mamata’s decision to bring a no-trust motion against the government. Both the Left and the NDA felt that a no-trust vote might be easily defeated given the fact that the Congress would have access to numbers by securing the support of the BSP and even the SP. And a victory in the no-confidence vote would give the Congress a much-needed breather and the ruling dispensation would feel secured for the next six months. Under the existing rules, a second no-confidence motion cannot be brought against the government until six months have lapsed.
There are two other crucial reasons why the BJP and the Left are against a no-trust vote at the moment. First, neither the NDA constituents nor the Left Front partners want a countrywide general election very soon. They know that Mamata Banerjee is in a hurry but they do not want to give her the opportunity. Secondly, some of the Congress’s crucial friends like the DMK and the SP have spoken out against FDI in multi-brand retail. So, it is quite possible to forge a broader understanding against the FDI measure. The SP will find it difficult to wriggle out of the situation. The BJP-led NDA feel that there is a greater possibility of humiliating the government by introducing a resolution which allows voting.
On the no trust vote, the BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad, who stepped out to brief the media after the NDA discussions concluded at Lal Krishna Advani’s residence, said that his party would in due course consider ways and means of bringing a no-confidence motion against the government. “This government must go,” he thundered even if his party was not taking the ultimate step to remove the UPA-II from power at the beginning of the session. It is now obvious that the BJP move is a snub to Mamata Banerjee who has again become politically isolated by trying to impose a no trust vote on a reluctant Opposition.
In fact, even the AIADMK which was reported to have made friendly noises on the no-trust vote conceived by Banerjee did not sound quite amenable on Tuesday. Tamil Nadu chief minister J.Jayalalithaa told reporters in Chennai that nobody had approached her party till now. AIADMK is not really averse to the idea of early elections and is ready to face the voters as and when the polls are announced. On her own part, Mamata Banerjee made a desperate attempt to reach out to the Left, even suggesting that her party would back the CPI(M) and its allies if they went ahead and moved a no-trust resolution.
While the SP and BSP kept everybody guessing, the Left also insisted like the BJP that they would bring resolutions similar to the ones that the BJP announced in the evening. Senior CPM leaders said that they thought Mamata Banerjee’s move was ill-advised and a defeat in a FDI resolution would humiliate the government even more and keep the pressure on Congress. It is clear from the day’s developments that the Congress’s worries have somewhat diminished now that they do not have to plan a strategy for a no-trust vote.
A defeat in the kind of resolution which the Left or the BJP wants to introduce will mean loss of face but not loss of power.