No-confidence motion against government defeated in Indian parliament

No-confidence motion against government defeated in Indian parliament

Opposition party alliance brought no-confidence motion last month in bid to force Premier Modi to comment on ethnic violence in northeastern state

By Anadolu staff

ANKARA (AA) — A no-confidence vote brought against the Indian government was defeated in the Indian parliament on Thursday as political fever continues over violence in the northeastern state of Manipur.

The Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) opposition bloc launched a bid for the no-confidence motion in parliament last month against the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Thursday evening, the Lok Sabha, the lower parliamentary chamber, held a voice vote that was subsequently defeated by the ruling party bloc, the National Democratic Alliance, led by Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The vote was held after a debate that Modi also attended.

In his speech, Modi targeted the opposition, particularly the main opposition Indian National Congress party. He pointed to an earlier no-confidence motion in 2018, saying that the move had become a floor test for its initiators, rather than the government.

"When voting happened, they fell short. When we went to the public, the people announced their no-confidence in them," he said adding that the National Democratic Alliance and BJP had increased their votes in the next elections the following year.

In 2018, the government had faced another no-confidence motion in parliament, but it was defeated in the Lok Sabha as the ruling party was in the majority. Launching a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha requires the support of at least 50 lawmakers.

- Violence in Manipur

During the premier's speech, opposition lawmakers protested by walking out of the chamber.

Gaurav Gogoi of the Indian National Congress said the opposition alliance conducted the walkout to preserve its "accountability towards the people of Manipur," where violence has recently escalated among local ethnic communities.

Gogoi accused Modi of ignoring the opposition's questions on the issue. During his address the prime minister had vowed to restore peace in the state.

"I want to assure the people that peace will be restored in Manipur in the near future," said the premier, who criticized the opposition lawmakers for leaving the chamber.

"Those who don’t trust democracy are always ready to make a comment but don't have the patience to listen.

"This is their game and the country can’t expect much from them," he said.

Also speaking during the debate on the no-confidence motion, federal Home Minister Amit Shah said all efforts were being made to ensure peace in the state and that so far, 152 people had died in the fighting since May.

The violence in Manipur started in May after a court ruling directed the state government to submit recommendations for the inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe category, which enraged the state's tribal population. Since then, thousands have been displaced besides the dozens that were killed.

Tensions in Manipur were exacerbated after a video showing two women paraded naked by a mob went viral on social triggering nationwide outrage. The Meitei people, who are mostly Hindus, form the largest ethnic group of Manipur. The two other communities in the state, Nagas, and Kukis, are mostly Christians.

Since the start of the ongoing parliament session last month, it has witnessed regular disruptions as the opposition parties continue to demand a statement from the prime minister over the Manipur issues.

Modi had spoken about the issue when footage of the incident went viral, calling the mob assault a shameful incident.

While the Indian ruling party had the numbers in parliament to survive the vote, opposition leaders brought the motion to force Modi to speak about the ongoing ethnic clashes Manipur.

Politics over the deadly clashes have reached a fever-pitch in India, with the opposition accusing the government of inaction.

Indian main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday blamed the government for the crisis in Manipur. The government, however, has accused the Congress party of the problems in the country's northeast. The BJP currently leads the government in Manipur, succeeding in 2022 the Congress party, which previously held the state.

The government has also linked the crisis in Manipur to unrest in neighboring Myanmar. It claims that political instability prompted Kuki people there to flee into the states of Manipur and Mizoram.

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