NEW DELHI: The Opposition today launched a scathing attack on the BJP-led government over unfulfilled promises and the Rafale deal, as the Lok Sabha took up for debate the no-trust vote against the Centre.
While the TDP's Jayadev Galla initiated the debate on the no-confidence motion and attacked the Modi government for ignoring the interests of Andhra Pradesh after Telangana was carved out of it, Congress President Rahul Gandhi raised the issue of Rafale fighter aircraft deal and making "tall' promises without fulfilling them.
This is the first time that a no-confidence motion has been moved in the Lok Sabha since the BJP-led dispensation came to power four years ago.
Responding to the criticism, Rakesh Singh (rpt Singh) (BJP) said the opposition has no "concrete reason" to bring a no-confidence motion against the government.
"They are scared of Modi's popularity and hence are trying to form a federal front top get to power...Those standing with the Congress on this motion, have also earned the curse of the people," he (rpt he) said. Participating in the debate, the Congress President accused the government of making "tall promises" and fulfilling none.
"The TDP, like many others, is victim of BJP's political weapon called 'jumla' (gimmick)", he said.
Rahul Gandhi also accused the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of speaking "untruth" over the Rafale fighter aircraft deal and demanded answers from her and the Prime Minister.
He also asked why a businessman was allegedly favoured.
Earlier, TDP member Srinivas Kesineni moved the no- confidence motion in the House and urged the Speaker to allow his party colleague Galla initiate the debate.
Just before the debate began, Bhratruhari Mahtab of the BJD said the people of Odisha have witnessed "injustice by the UPA for 10 years and NDA for four.
"The debate would not be fruitful for Odisha ... we are walking out," he said as members of his party walked out of the House.
Galla accused both the BJP and the Congress of crippling Andhra Pradesh by getting an "unscientific" bill passed to divide the state.
"In one of his election speeches, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had slammed the Congress for only saving the child (Telangana) and letting the mother (AP) die.
He had said, had he been in power, he would have saved both... we were overwhelmed by his statement and decided to support him ... But nothing has happened till now, four years since he assumed office," Galla said.
The TDP member said the struggle for a special category status for Andhra Pradesh has become a 'dharma yudh' between people of the state and the BJP-led government at the Centre.
He said his "curse" (shrap) is that the BJP would be defeated at the hustings.
Maintaining that a world class state capital cannot be built for Rs 1,500 crore, he said Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated in an undemocratic and unscientific manner, leading to strong protests by TRS MPs in the House.
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the time allocated to opposition parties was very limited and the debate should not be restricted to a few hours.
He said there have been precedents when the debate on no- confidence motion has continued for three days.
Kalyan Banerjee (Trinamool Congress) demanded that the opposition be given more time than the treasury benches.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said in the times of one-day cricket, the debate should not be prolonged like a five-day test match.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said time restrictions have to be in place and announced that the motion would be put to vote at 6 PM.
Galla said while the former PM had assured Parliament that Andhra Pradesh would be given special category status for five years, BJP's manifesto for 2014 assembly polls had also promised to extend it for another five years.
"No promise has been fulfilled," Galla said.
His remarks that Parliament was "bulldozed" to pass the AP Reorganisation Bill drew an angry response from Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), with its members trooping into the Well and raising slogans for a brief period.
Galla also hit out at the Finance Minister on the issue of recommendations and award of the 14th Finance Commission, saying he must stop "misleading" people.
In his response, the BJP MP said there is lack of trust within the Congress party itself and they are rattled by the popularity of Modi.
"While the Congress has given this country 'tainted' government, the BJP under Modi has given 48 months of a clean, transparent and strong government," Singh said, claiming the BJP will return to power in 2019.
Taking a dig at Congress, he said, "the present government came into power with absolute majority and bringing a no-confidence motion shows that the Congress does not accept anyone forming government, except by one particular a family".
Singh said while the Congress in the last 48 years gave a government of a number of scams which is "a blot" on the country, the NDA government has provided good governance and initiated a number of schemes for the welfare of the people.