LET­THE POLL GAMES BE­GIN

Nitin Gad­kari throws a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion goo­gly at the Govern­ment, send­ing pun­dits into num­ber-crunch­ing mode

India Today - - NATION - By Bhavna Vij-aurora

Nitin Gad­kari has floated a typ­i­cal mid-term bal­loon filled with toxic he­lium into the po­lit­i­cal strato­sphere with the “ca­sual” sug­ges­tion of a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion against the Govern­ment. The BJP pres­i­dent knows even his own party may not buy his sug­ges­tion but it’s the right kind of provo­ca­tion on the eve of a dif­fi­cult and pos­si­bly tur­bu­lent win­ter ses­sion of Par­lia­ment start­ing on Novem­ber 22.

The BJP may not even ac­tu­ally move a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion but Gad­kari’s state­ment in Luc­know, in poll-bound Ut­tar Pradesh on Oc­to­ber 30, sent po­lit­i­cal pun­dits into a frenzy of num­ber-crunch­ing. Gad­kari’s aim ap­pears to have been achieved as it is ap­par­ent that in or­der to sur­vive a pos­si­ble no-con­fi­dence mo­tion, the Congress-led UPA will need ei­ther the sup­port of Sa­ma­jwadi Party ( SP) or the Bahu­jan Sa­ma­jwadi Party ( BSP). He says the two par­ties and Congress project one an­other as ri­vals but they ac­tu­ally have a tacit un­der­stand­ing. “In case a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion is brought by the BJP in Par­lia­ment’s win­ter ses­sion, the stand taken by SP and BSP will make it clear whether these par­ties are re­ally against Congress or not,” Gad­kari said.

A look at the numbers in Lok Sabha, given the dy­namic po­lit­i­cal sce­nario, re­veals that the Congress could be in an embarrassing spot in case of a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion. “The UPA can claim around 260 mem­bers in the Lok Sabha when it needs 272 to reach the half­way mark. It is the cru- cial dif­fer­ence which makes Congress vul­ner­a­ble,” says a BJP mem­ber.

With the Congress at 207 seats, the UPA in­cludes Tri­namool Congress (18), Dravida Mun­netra Kazhagam ( DMK) (18), Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party (9), National Con­fer­ence (3), Jhark­hand Vikas Mor­cha (2), Mus­lim League (2) and All In­dia Ma­jlis-e-it­te­hadul Mus­limeen (1), mak­ing it 260. Sup­port from BSP (21) or SP (22) will make it eas­ier for the Congress to reach the half-way mark in the Lok Sabha. If both choose to vote against the govern­ment, the Congress will then have to bank on Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (4), Janata Dal (Sec­u­lar) (3) and hope that Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal comes on board with its five mem­bers. It will also have to lure the nine in­de­pen­dents and dan­gle the state­hood car­rot at Te­lan­gana Rash­tra Samithi for its two MPS.

A vet­eran BJP mem­ber says that Congress can­not even take the sup­port of al­lies like DMK and Na­tion­al­ist Congress Party for granted. “The NCP’S Sharad Pawar will de­mand a bailout from the Lavasa con­tro­versy. DMK, too, will de­mand its pound of flesh to get its Ra­jya Sabha MP Kan­i­mozhi out of Ti­har Jail. Tri­namool Congress chief Ma­mata Ban­er­jee will prob­a­bly get the Congress to give her party pro­pri­etary rights over the Rail­ways. Coali­tion dharma will cost the Congress heavy,” he says.

Within BJP, opinion is di­vided over the fea­si­bil­ity of mov­ing a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion. An ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber of BJP’S Par­lia­men­tary Party thinks that this is not the right

time. “For a party like Congress, it will not be dif­fi­cult to buy sup­port. A no-con­fi­dence mo­tion may not be a good idea since the Govern­ment could come out tri­umphant at a time when its stock is at an all-time low,” says the BJP leader.

Gad­kari told IN­DIA TO­DAY that there has been no de­ci­sion on mov­ing a no­con­fi­dence mo­tion. “The de­ci­sion has to be taken by BJP’S Par­lia­men­tary Party. I was merely talk­ing about a hy­po­thet­i­cal sit­u­a­tion,” he says. BJP is of the view that if there has to be a no­con­fi­dence mo­tion, it should be moved by the Left and not by the BJP.

Janata Dal (United) leader and NDA con­vener Sharad Ya­dav says that a de­ci­sion like bring­ing in a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion needed proper con­sid­er­a­tion. “There has been no men­tion of it at the level of NDA yet,” he says. ■

GAD­KARI (CEN­TRE) WITH BJP LEAD­ERS S.P. SHAHI (LEFT) AND KAL­RAJ MISHRA

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