The NDA government won the no-confidence motion; 325 MPs voted against the motion while only 126 voted in its favour.
New Delhi: A Telugu Desam Party sponsored no-confidence motion against a supremely confident ruling NDA ignited Parliament on Friday with some heavy rhetoric flowing from both sides, capped by a fiery speech from Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the end of an 11-hour debate, but not before he was momentarily upstaged by a cheeky hug from rival Rahul Gandhi.
The NDA government won the no-confidence motion by a huge margin. 325 lawmakers voted against the motion while only 126 voted in its favour.
Amid a fiery speech that was most decisively an election pitch for 2019, PM Modi said a special status to any state affects other but reiterated his commitment to the betterment of Andhra Pradesh.
The NDA dominated proceedings for most of the debate but was taken aback for a moment when Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who after an impassioned speech, went across to the Treasure Bench and hugged the PM saying he didn’t hate him though he was called Pappu and a lot of other things.
Modi took a jibe at Rahul’s hug saying he was asked to get up by the Congress leader before the embrace. “What is the hurry to take my chair,” the PM asked.
“He said I couldn’t look him in the eye but did you notice the wink?” PM Modi said referring to Rahul’s wink at a fellow Congressman after the hug.
Earlier, with the conclusion foregone, since numbers were stacked heavily in favour of the ruling NDA, parliamentarians debated from 11 am on Friday the no-confidence motion that had been initiated by the TDP on the Centre’s reluctance to give Andhra Pradesh a 'special status'.
NDA partners, however critical of top gun BJP like the Shiv Sena, decided to close ranks and abstain from the voting. Several other fence-sitters – AIADMK, TRS and the BJD – also abstained, tilting the scales further in BJP’s favour.
Opposition parties, which hoped to ‘expose’ the ruling government, appeared to have fallen into a political trap by moving this motion as their defeat was certain. The debate preceding the vote gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi the opportunity to kickstart the BJP’s 2019 election campaign and he did not fail in grabbing that opportunity.
A senior Congress leader indicated that if the motion ended up being “a battle of rhetoric between Modi and Rahul, then one knows who is the better orator”.
Here's all that has happened in the Lok Sabha:
* True to speculation, Odisha's Biju Janata Dal MPs walked out as soon as the debate began. They later said this move should not be seen as an attempt to "help the BJP government". The majority mark fell to 258.
* Shiv Sena also decided not to attend Parliament on Friday. "We are with the BJP today, can't say about tomorrow," the Sena said. Majority mark went down to 249.
* TDP's Jayadev Galla initiated the debate. He said Andhra Pradesh was divided in 2014 in an undemocratic way, by bulldozing Parliament. "Andhra Pradesh was burdened by huge revenue deficit, a mammoth loan. AP has very few sources of revenue generation. Telangana was already a state. AP is a new state, but has got less funds. AP has been the loser in all aspects, it is languishing at all fronts despite talent," Galla said. "You raised the expectations of the people of AP only to shatter them. The BJP will be decimated in Andhra like the Congress was. This is not a threat, but a shraap," he added. He also criticised the BJP's move to field corruption-accused candidates in the Karnataka elections, stating it blunted Modi's 'na khaaonga, na khaney dunga' promise. Galla attacked the Congress too for going back on promises made to Andhra Pradesh.
* Next to speak was BJP's Rakesh Singh. "Our enthusiasm to develop the country has not dimmed. It is on in full steam," he said. Singh refuted the charges brought Jayadev Galla and said he was projecting the Congress' failure on Andhra Pradesh on the BJP. "Gallaji said he was giving us a shraap. But he is shraapit today as he stands with the Congress. Congress partner H D Kumaraswamy cried in front of everybody the other day. He said he was drinking poison (by being a Congress ally in Karnataka)," Singh said. He attacked the Congress next: "Under Congress, gareebi nahin hati, gareeb ko hatna pada." He then rattled off the NDA government's achievements sine 2014.
* Congress president Rahul Gandhi took the stage next and tore into the government's "lies and jumlas" on employment, demonetisation, the GST etc. “You are the victim of a 21st-century political weapon and you are not the only one. The political weapon is called 'jumla strike'. Its victims are farmers, youth, Dalits, tribals and women,” he said. "This Prime Minister doesn't talk to small shopkeepers but with the suited-booted few. The pain of the poor doesn't reach him," Rahul charged. He added: "The PM had said he was the chaukidaar of the country. But he doesn't say a word when his friend's son becomes rich quickly," the Congress leader said.
* “The Defence Minister said there is a secrecy pact with France on Rafale deal. I personally met the Prime Minister of France and asked him if any such pact existed, he clearly said there was no pact,” Rahul Gandhi went on. "Everybody understands the Prime Minister is friendly with businessmen who sponsor him. One such gentleman benefited from the Rafale deal. The Prime Minister should explain why this contract was taken away from the youngsters of Karnataka and given to a businessman who has a debt of Rs 35,000 crore?" Rahul went on to taunt how Modi could not look him in the eye "because he is not truthful". "He is not a chaukidaar but a bhagidaar," Rahul mocked.
* Rahul next criticised Modi's foreign policies, particularly on how he handled the skirmish in Doklam.
* Rahul spoke about the condition of women in the country. "India, in the first time in its history, is not being able to save its women. This is India's reputation today -- in the country and abroad," Rahul said. "But the PM says nothing! Are these women not Indian? He is also lsilent on mob lynchings," the Congress leader said.
* Rahul ended in an uncharacteristically belligerent note: “The Prime Minister and the BJP President are very different type of politicians. We can see ourselves in power and out of power. But the PM and the BJP President can’t simply afford to lose power. If they lose, other processes would start against them. So they are afraid to lose. This has given rise to their anger. It is this anger that India is feeling. I can tell you today that we shall defeat you in 2019.”
* “You Narendra Modi and the BJP have taught me what Congress is, what a Hindu is. Congress stands for all. You may hate me. But I don’t hate you. I shall take the hatred out of your heart and turn you all into Congress members!” “Aap logon ke andar mere liye nafrat hai, aap mujhe Pappu aur bohot gaaliyan dekar bula sakte hain, lekin mere andar aapke liye nafrat nahi hai,” Rahul Gandhi said.
* After this impassioned speech, Rahul Gandhi crossed over to the Treasury Bench and gave PM Narendra Modi -- first, a warm handshake and then a hug. Modi was surprised but soon gained composure to call back Rahul and give him another handshake.
* Trinamul Congress' Sougata Roy said the Prime Minister has become a "travelling salesman". He questioned why Modi had visited Bengal, not talked about the state's achievements but spoke about the state's syndicate. He then spoke about the Prime Minister's travels abroad and how much it had cost the tax payer. "What have we achieved after the Prime Minister's globetrotting?" Roy asked. "Our poor farmers are dying for the lack of money," the Trinamul leader added.
* Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav raised the issues of unemployment and farmers plight in his speech. “There is no one who is not sad. Even people of BJP are unhappy. Farmers are facing problems. The country will prosper only after farmers prosper. Seeds, manure, water, everything is costly. Even unemployed youths are facing problems. All this needs to be solved,” Yadav said. "The Centre made so many promises but nothing was done. Farmers and businessmen have been destroyed," he added.
* Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the NDA had never brought a no-confidence motion against the UPA because "the Opposition was respectful" of a government in majority. "How can one not trust a Prime Minister who has worked so much for the people?" Singh asked in his speech.
* "Mob lynching incidents are very unfortunate and I have asked state governments to make the strictest of laws to punish it. But I would like to tell people who are raising these issues today that the biggest case of mob lynching happened during the 1984 Sikh genocide," Singh said. Singh also took a dig at Rahul Gandhi's hug of Narendra Modi, stating Rahul has now started a 'chipko andolan' in the House and that he too would hug Congress' Mallikarjun Kharge after the debate.
* A little before 6 pm, BJP’s Prahlad Joshi moved a breach of privilege motion against Rahul Gandhi. The BJP leader said Rahul Gandhi made 'unsubstantiated claims against BJP, particularly against the PM on Rafale deal’.
* Congress' leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge reminded the House of his party' contribution to democracy in India. He said: “If we acted the way you are acting now -- dividing people, encouraging inequality -- democracy wouldn't have survived in India,” he said.
* Replying to the Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to all members of Lok Sabha to dismiss the no-confidence motion. Slamming the Opposition, the Prime Minister said that arrogance was behind moving the motion. "What we saw among members of the Opposition was sheer arrogance. The only thing they have to say - remove Modi," he said.
* PM Modi also said today the nation has seen the negativity expressed by some members. India saw how some people are so deeply opposed to development.
*Hitting out at the Congress, the Prime Minister said: “This is not a floor test of the Government, this is a force test of Congress's so-called allies.” Further, PM Modi mocked Rahul Gandhi over his gesture to make him stand from seat before hugging and asked: "Why this hurry to get PM's chair?"
* “I request the Congress that if they want to see who is with them, go ahead but don't use the no-confidence motion as an excuse,” the Prime Minister added.
*As Prime Minister continues with his speech, TDP lawmakers entered the well of the house. They were shouting 'We want justice'.
*Giving a point-by-point reply to the Opposition, Prime Minister Modi mentioned the schemes initiated by the government including rural electrification, Ujjwala Yojana, Swacch Bharat, Jan Dhan, Mudra Yojana and also steps taken by the Centre to curb black money.
*Taking a jibe at the Congress for supporting the no-trust move, PM Modi said: “Congress has no faith in the Election Commission, judiciary, the RBI and in the International Agencies. They have confidence in nothing” adding that the Congress does not believe in itself.
*UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi also came under PM Modi's scathing attack. Referring to her statement "who says we do not have the numbers", the Prime Minister said: "See her arrogance."
"I was reminded about 1999 when she stood outside Rashtrapati Bhavan and said - we have 272 and more are joining us. She destabilised Atal Ji's Government and never formed one herself," he added.
*Coming down heavily on the Congress over the Rafale deal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that due to one careless allegation in the House on Rafale, both nations had to release statements adding “We must abstain from making childish statements on sensitive issues”.
*On Rahul Gandhi's 'jumla strike' remark, PM Modi said, "You are calling surgical strike a "jumla" strike? This is not acceptable at all. If you want to abuse, abuse me, Modi is present but don't abuse the Army."
*Retorting to Rahul Gandhi's taunt on how Modi could not look him in the eye, the Prime Minister said, "Today, he said I cannot look into his eyes True. Who am I to look into his eyes? The son of a poor mother how can I look into his eyes."
"Subhash Chandra Bose, Morarji Desai, J P Narayan, Chaudhri Charan Singh, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Chandrasekhar, Pranab Mukherjee, Sharad Pawar they all tried looking them in the eye, the country has seen. How they were insulted," PM Modi added.
"We are 'kaamdaar', how can we look into the eye of a 'naamdaar'," the Prime Minister further said.
*Rahul Gandhi's wink also featured in PM Modi's speech when he ridiculed, "The entire nation saw what the eyes did today. It is clear in front of everyone."
*Responding to TDP's Jayadev Galla, who initiated the no-confidence debate, on Andhra special status issue, PM Modi said that the NDA government is committed towards the development of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
*"Atal Ji created 3 states- Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. It was done peacefully. These states are prospering. The Congress divided Andhra Pradesh and their conduct then was shameful," PM Modi slammed the Congress.
*Prime Minister Modi assured the people of Andhra Pradesh that the Centre will keep working for them. "We will do everything possible for the development of Andhra Pradesh," he added.
*The Prime Minister further held the Congress responsible for the Non-performing assets (NPA) mess. “I want to tell you about the NPA problem. Much before Internet Banking, Congress Party invented Phone Banking and this caused the NPA mess. A phone call would get loans for their cronies and the nation suffered,” he added.
*In a reference to recent incidents of crime against women, PM Modi urged the state governments to punish those indulged in violence adding ‘any instance of violence brings shame to the nation’.
*Responding to a day-long debate on the no-confidence motion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks on how the government is working towards the motto of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’.
*According to reports, the Congress is discussing with other political parties to stage a walkout.
*While concluding his speech, PM Modi invites the Opposition to bring forth a ‘no-confidence motion’ in 2014 as well.
*325 MPs voted ‘No’ while 126 voted ‘Ayes’ -- By a huge margin, the vote of no-confidence is defeated.