Who will trust whom?
With the stage set for a no-confidence motion, the focus was on the fence-sitters and the so-called disgruntled NDA ally, Shiv Sena. The Sena leadership in Mumbai wanted to keep the BJP on tenterhooks till the end, but its parliamentary party leader Chandrakant Khaire made a short-cut. He took the three-line BJP whip, replaced Shiv Sena with the BJP and issued to his MPs. The Sena’s support to the government became a fait accompli. Sanjay Raut’s belated “we’ve not decided yet’’ statement had little impact. BJP chief Amit Shah nonetheless called up Udhav Thackeray. Not that the Sena would have voted against the treasury in Delhi, risking its ministerial slot in the Centre and the power-sharing equation in the state. Though counted among the opposition, the question of AIADMK voting against Modi Government did not arise. Tamil Nadu’s ruling party, however, thought it fit explain why it won’t support the TDP no-confidence confidence: “It’s on an issue related to Andhra Pradesh, plus when we’re protesting for Cauvery water (last session) no one supported us!” Another fence-sitter TRS too may vote for the government and not abstain, like BJD. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRC is in a limbo. Five MPs have resigned and four have switched camps. So, little point in counting them with either side.
TDP MP G.C. Diwakar Reddy displayed no illusion about the fate of no-confidence motion that will be initiated by his party colleague Galla Jaidev. “Obviously, (it’ll) fail, they (BJP) have all the numbers.” The TDP will have no more than 13 minutes to put its angst across, as against the 3 hrs 33 minutes the BJP will get to counter it. Time is allocated on the basis of the party strength in the House. For the Congress, Mallikarjun Kharge and Jyotiraditya Scindia are expected to speak. The real highlight, though, will be Rahul Gandhi’s intervention and the PM’s reply—in short, the face-off. Rahul will be on around 1 pm. And Modi is slotted for 6 pm, but his 50 minutes are likelier to happen around 8 pm, closer to prime time. That’s exactly what the BJP would have liked.
Not short of trust
Lest anyone gets ideas, Amit Shah let it know there’s no threat to the life of the Modi Sarkar: “We’ll not step down even an hour before our (Lok Sabha) term gets over!” But NCP’s strongman Sharad Pawar quipped: “No more surprises, the opposition has become wiser. We’re preparing for early elections!’’