M A I N   N E W S

Oppn divided over no-trust vote
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
The battlelines are drawn with almost the entire Opposition deciding to challenge the Manmohan Singh government in Parliament through a vote on its decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail.

But the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) can still breathe easy as there is no unanimity on moving a motion of no-confidence.

While not exactly rejecting the Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) proposed no-trust move, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) felt there was a need to consult other political parties before committing itself.

“It is time for this government to go. The NDA will explore the possibility of a no-confidence motion,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told the media after a strategy session of top leaders of the coalition partners this evening.

CPM general secretary Prakash Karat spiked the TMC idea on the grounds that the government would survive the test and it would result in a wasted opportunity for the Opposition.

Similarly, the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) chief Jayalalithaa said her party would take a stand once such a motion was moved but added that no party had approached the AIADMK for its support.

The overall mood both within the Opposition and in outside supporting parties like the Samajwadi Party is not to precipitate matters and charge up the political atmosphere by pushing for a trust vote.

There is greater agreement on the tactics to confront the UPA government on FDI in retail since the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a key ally of the ruling coalition, too is against opening up the retail market. On its part, the government exuded confidence with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath asserting that UPA has the numbers even as he mocked its former ally, the TMC, for seeking to move a no-confidence motion with just 19 MPs.

Technically, at least 50 MPs are required to submit notice to the Speaker to express loss of trust in the government.

“We are not counting as we are sure of the numbers,” Nath said.

As for discussion on the FDI, the minister said that notices have been received under both rules - 184 (that entails voting) and 193 (without a vote) - in the Lok Sabha.

The government is not in a mood to agree for a discussion that ends in a voting as it has already declared it as an executive decision that does not require parliamentary approval, setting the stage for a possible stand-off.

That the TMC chief Mamata Banerjee's political gambit has backfired was evident as she went to the extent of appealing to her staunch political opponent, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), expressing her support in case the CPM makes such a move.

Meanwhile, the government today unveiled an ambitious agenda for the November 22-December 20 session listing 10 new Bills it plans to introduce and 25 Bills, including the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, it proposes to take up for consideration and passage by Parliament, besides supplementary demands for grants.

As for Lokpal, Kamal Nath said the government was awaiting the report of the Select Committee of the Rajya Sabha.

The Winter Session will be a test for the new Parliamentary Affairs Minister who said he would attempt to arrive at political consensus on the business to be transacted during the coming session of Parliament.

How They stand

  • CPM general secy Prakash Karat feels that the govt will survive the test and the move will result in a wasted opportunity for the Opposition
  • TMC chief Mamata Banerjee forced to appeal to the CPM, her staunch political opponent, expressing her support in case the CPM initiates such a move
  • According to AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, no party had approached her party for its support





Now, Yashwant Sinha wants Gadkari to quit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 20
The clamour for BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s resignation following allegations of dubious financing of his Purti Group grew louder today with senior party leader and former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha demanding that he step down from his post immediately.

Ironically, Sinha’s statement came on a day when the beleaguered party chief was busy holding meetings with senior NDA and BJP leaders to draw up the Opposition’s strategy to corner the UPA government on the issue of FDI in retail and various scams in the winter session of Parliament beginning on Thursday.

There is a section in the BJP which believes that Gadkari should step down before the Parliament session or it would derail the party’s campaign against the UPA regime on the issue of corruption.

Sinha himself went incommunicado shortly after making his statement. While it could not be ascertained how other senior leaders were reacting to the demand made publicly by Sinha, BJP’s chief spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad described it as inappropriate. “Yashwant Sinha is a senior leader of the party...he can raise any issue at the party forum. We hope he will reconsider his statement,” he said.

Sinha, a Lok Sabha member from Hazaribagh in Jharkhand, made the demand days after BJP Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani and his son Mahesh launched a no-holds barred attack on Gadkari earlier this month, seeking his resignation. Jethamalani had even at that time claimed that his demand for Gadkari’s resignation was supported by senior party leaders like Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Shatrughan Sinha. 





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