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No-confidence: Modi to face fierce debate in Lok Sabha for silence on Manipur

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, July 14, 2023. — Reuters
  • Congress’s Gaurav Gogoi initiates debate on no-confidence motion.
  • Lok Sabha to take up extensive discussion on no-confidence motion. 
  • Motion aimed at forcing Modi’s detailed statement on Manipur violence.

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to face a heated debate over silence on the deadly violence in the remote state of Manipur, during the ongoing session in the Lok Sabha today (Tuesday), local media reported.

Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi initiated a debate on the no-confidence motion against the country’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

However, a central minister created a ruckus saying that senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was earlier said to open the debate. 

Modi’s main opponent, Gandhi, returned to Lok Sabha on Monday after the country’s Supreme Court halted his criminal defamation conviction in the 2019 ‘Modi surname case’.

The Lok Sabha took up an extensive discussion on the no-confidence motion — also known as the no-trust motion — moved by the recently formed alliance Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A) last month, which will continue till Thursday.

The debate is expected to be a fierce one, with Prime Minister Narendra scheduled to reply to it on the concluding day, August 10.

The 26 opposition parties’ alliance I.N.D.I.A moved the no-confidence motion against the BJP-led government on July 26, nearly four days after the Monsoon Session began in the Indian Parliament, to force a statement from PM Modi on the Manipur violence.

It may be noted that Modi has maintained silence on what has “come close to a civil war” engulfing the northeastern state, where Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP is in power.

He had not commented in public about the worst ethnic violence ever seen in the small state of 3.2 million until last week, when videos showing two women being paraded naked and molested by a mob in Manipur surfaced, sparking national outrage.

Modi condemned the mass assault as “shameful” and promised tough action against the perpetrators.

Opposition parties, however, disrupted the monsoon session of parliament which began last week, to demand a detailed statement by Modi on Manipur in parliament. 

A no-confidence motion serves as a mechanism to assess the joint accountability of the governing administration.

As per a report by Hindustan Times, a no-confidence motion can be proposed if a Member of Parliament (MP) feels that the incumbent government doesn’t have enough support to stay in charge and do its duties.

This motion needs support from at least 50 other MPs and can only be initiated within the lower house of India’s bicameral Parliament, called Lok Sabha.

“Within a parliamentary democracy, the continuity of a government’s authority relies on its ability to command a majority within the directly elected body, the Lok Sabha. According to Article 75(3) of the Indian Constitution, a Council of Ministers, comprising members of the elected government, bears collective accountability to the Lower House.”

Modi’s BJP has a clear majority of 301 members in the 542-seat lower house of parliament, so the no-confidence vote will not impact its stability.

However, the ethnic tensions in Manipur are seen as a rare security and political failure by Modi’s government, which will face a national election by May 2024.

— Additional input from Reuters

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