Mumbai: As PM Narendra Modi-led government at the Center faces no-confidence motion on July 20, its estranged ally Shiv Sena remains noncommittal about its support. Just hours after promising support to the BJP, Shiv Sena has withdrawn a whip to its lawmakers to vote in favor of the government. The party said that it will decide its course of action by July 20 morning.
This morning, BJP chief Amit Shah reportedly spoke to Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on phone, after which it decided to vote in favor of the NDA government.
The no-confidence motion was moved by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) — a former constituent in the NDA. The move is supported by the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), a bitter rival of the TMC, among others.
“We had issued the whip, but it was later withdrawn. We have not decided yet…we will arrive at a decision by Friday morning,” said Sena leader and MP Chandrakant Khaire.
Explained: What is the no confidence motion and why has it been raised?
The whip issued earlier in the day by Sena directed its Lok Sabha MPs to remain present on Friday and “support the government’s stand.
The three-line whip issued by Khaire, who is chief whip of the party, stated: “All Shiv Sena members in Lok Sabha are hereby informed that some very important Legislative business will be taken up for discussion and passing in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, the 19th July and Friday, the 20th July 2018. All members of the Shiv Sena are therefore requested to be positively present in the House both days till adjournment on Thursday, July 19 and Friday, July 20, 2018 and support the Government’s stand.”
Another senior Sena leader, who did not want to be named, said that the party is unlikely to support the opposition in the motion. He said that Thackeray has not conveyed his decision to them, and added that the party could “either abstain or vote in favor” and the option of supporting the Opposition parties is unlikely.
The effective strength of Lok Sabha has reduced to 533 with two more seats falling vacant, sources in Parliament said, after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan accepted BJD MP Baijayant Jay Panda’s resignation and Jose K Mani of Kerala Congress (M) was nominated to Rajya Sabha. The central government is comfortably placed in the Lok Sabha and there is no risk to its survival. The ruling NDA has 313 members, a lot more than it needs to clear the test.
Last month Shah met Thackeray in an attempt to mend the ties between the two saffron parties. The meeting was also aimed at mollifying Sena for an alliance for the upcoming General Election and Maharashtra Assembly polls in 2019.