The BJP’s alliance partners have suddenly found voice as the ruling party faces two competing motions of no-confidence in the Lok Sabha, by the TDP, which quit the rulinig NDA on Friday, and the YSR Congress. The Shiv Sena and even the hitherto quiet Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) heaped criticism on the BJP.

Vehement protests by the AIADMK in the Lok Sabha seeking the constitution of a Cauvery Water Board meant that the no-confidence motions moved by the two Andhra Pradesh parties could not be taken up on Friday.

The Shiv Sena predicted, in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamna , that the BJP’s tally will come down by 100-110 seats in the 2019 general elections. “The two victories by the Samajwadi Party in Gorakhpur and Phulpur have created panic in the BJP camp at a time when they were busy celebrating the party’s victory in a small State like Tripura,” said the Saamna editorial.

LJP’s rising star Chirag Paswan, son of Union Minister Ramvilas Paswan, had a word of advice for the BJP; “They need to re-work strategy, especially after what happened in Gorakhpur,” the first-time MP told reporters in Parliament, just as news of the TDP pulling out of the NDA was pouring in.

Still going strong

The government faces no real danger of being voted out through a no-confidence motion — the NDA still has 315 MPs in the Lok Sabha, while the Opposition has 220 MPs.

However, the pullout by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) after the bypoll debacle has cornered the BJP to some extent. The party’s strength since 2014 has come down to 272 MPs and the allies have realised their bigger partner is skating on thin ice.

A no-confidence motion needs the backing of 50 MPs to be moved and the Opposition will have no difficulty on this count, with the Congress alone having 48 MPs.

‘Batting for the BJP’

Both the YSR Congress and the TDP, which submitted a competing notice for a no-confidence motion on Friday, maintained that AIADMK MPs, under the veil of the Cauvery Water Board constitution, were covertly helping the BJP in postponing the no-confidence motions. Amid the din created by the AIADMK on Friday, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said that she is “duty-bound to bring it (no-confidence motion), provided there is order in the House”.

The YSR Congress had moved the notice for no-confidence on Thursday with the aim to move the motion on Friday. Its leader and MP YV Subba Reddy met leaders of all Opposition parties, who openly expressed support for the motion.

But, as former Lok Sabha Secretary General PDT Achary says, there is no time-frame for the no-confidence motion to be moved. As the main agenda for this session, the passage of the Finance Bill, has been completed, there is a possibility that the House will be adjourned sine die (without assigning a date for resumption of proceedings).

Nevertheless, from a position of strength vis-à-vis the Opposition, as also its allies, the BJP has clearly been brought down a peg or two.

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