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No-trust debate: Opposition questions PM Modi’s silence, seeks Manipur CM’s resignation; BJP mounts strong defence

NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday witnessed a showdown between the opposition and the government as it began a debate on the no-confidence motion against the PM Modi-led Centre over ethnic violence in Manipur.

The debate, which will continue till August 10, was kicked off by Congressleader Gaurav Gogoi from the opposition side. Right off the bat, the opposition tried to corner PM Narendra Modi over the Manipur situation and questioned his silence on the issue.

Interestingly, it was Rahul Gandhi who was supposed to initiate the debate. However, he didn’t speak on Tuesday with sources hinting that the Congress leader will make his speech on the day PM Modi responds to the charges.
As it happened: No-confidence debate in Lok Sabha
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, who started the debate from the government’s side, took the attack to the opposition by mocking their newly-formed bloc called INDIA and slammed the alliance for targeting a “poor person’s son”.
The debate witnessed attacks and counter-attacks from both the sides throughout the day until the House was adjourned till 11am on Wednesday.
Here are the highlights from Day 1 of the debate …
Opposition’s charge
Several opposition MPs demanded the resignation of Manipur chief minister Biren Singh during the debate.
They also questioned PM Modi’s silence on the issue, describing the government as “heartless”.
Congress’s Gaurav Gogoi, who initiated the debate, wondered why Biren Singh has not been replaced so far even when CMs of BJP-ruled Gujarat and Tripura were changed.

Sonia Gandhi bursts into laughter during no confidence debate as BJP MP Nishikant Dubey makes light-hearted remark


Sonia Gandhi bursts into laughter during no confidence debate as BJP MP Nishikant Dubey makes light-hearted remark

Gogoi also wondered why PM Modi has not yet visited Manipur.
“Why hasn’t PM Modi gone to Manipur till date? Why did he speak on the issue after 80 days? Why hasn’t PM Modi removed the CM of Manipur,” Gogoi asked in his speech.
“This no-confidence motion is our compulsion. This was never about numbers but about seeking justice for Manipur. Opposition alliance was clear, it wanted PM Modi to make a statement on Manipur in House but he chose to be silent,” Gogoi said.

Congress MP Manish Tewari said that any unrest within a northeastern state reverberates throughout the entire northeast region and the nation.
TMC MP Saugata Roy demanded that the present Manipur government be immediately dismissed and president’s rule be imposed in the state.
NCP MP Supriya Sule too demanded the resignation of Singh. He also raised the issue of Modi’s foreign tours, saying that the Prime Minister travelled to seven countries when Manipur was burning.
“What happened in Manipur is shameful. I demand the chief minister should resign immediately. Can you allow this to happen and shame the women of this country? Ask your conscience how you can support this government. How can you allow this?” she said.
Participating in the debate, Samajwadi Party MP Dimple Yadav asked why Prime Minister Modi was not present in Lok Sabha during the debate on the no-confidence motion, to which he has to respond.
Yadav alleged that what is happening in Manipur is “state-sponsored ethnic violence” and blamed the BJP-led governments in the state and at the Centre for the situation there.
Referring to a viral video of two women being stripped and paraded by a mob in Manipur on May 4, she said, “It was a complete violation of human rights. Using women as instruments of perpetrating violence is simply unacceptable. This incident has been condemned in the whole world.”
Government’s defence
During the debate, BJP MPs put up a staunch defence of the government and lashed out at the opposition alliance.
Taking a swipe at the opposition parties, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said that they were fighting among themselves and call themselves INDIA.
He claimed that if one asks the full form of the acronym INDIA to opposition leaders, very few will be able to elaborate.
Dubey slammed the opposition for bringing a no-trust motion “against the son of a poor” who has worked hard for the upliftment of the people.
He also singled out several leaders to highlight the differences in the opposition ranks.
Union minister Kiren Rijiju said in Lok Sabha that Congress and other opposition parties have brought the no-confidence motion against at a “wrong time and in a wrong manner.”
The minister said that at a time when Prime Minister Modi has emerged as the world leader and the country was marching ahead to become a developed nation by 2047, there was no need for such a motion against the government.
Instead, he said, the opposition should join hands with the government to celebrate ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ and work towards achieving the target set by the prime minister for the next 25 years.
“Congress and opposition parties will regret bringing in the no-confidence motion at the wrong time and in a wrong manner,” the minister said.
Referring to the issues facing the northeast, Rijiju said it was the Modi government which paid special focus on the region and today rail lines are being laid in several parts of the region. The prime minister wants the northeast to become an engine of growth, he added.
He regretted that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hardly met MPs from the northeastern states though he himself represented Assam in the Rajya Sabha.
Rijiju attributed the current problems in Manipur to the negligent attitude of the previous Congress governments.
He also urged the members not to speak against the country in foreign universities as it only supports the domestic eco-system which is against India.
Talking about the European Parliament resolution on developments in Manipur, the minister said India is strong enough to deal with domestic issues and no foreign power needs to interfere in the affairs of the country.
BJD, which is a neutral party, also sided with the government during the debate and lambasted the opposition for targeting PM Modi.
BJD MP Pinaki Misra said that the opposition knows that whenever PM Modi speaks on the floor of the House, he pushes the Congress party “through the shredder”
“This [motion] defies common sense, logic, political sense. People of this country will decide if the PM has chosen not to speak whether that was right or wrong. You have to take the case to the people …” he said.
Misra added that what happened in the state is due to “legacy issues” running back several decades.
‘Where is Rahul?’
During the debate, the BJP MPs also wondered why Rahul Gandhi did not lead the opposition charge, as was expected earlier.
Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi wondered why Gandhi’s name as lead speaker for no-trust motion was withdrawn at last minute.
BJP’s Dubey said that the former Congress president was expected to initiate the debate but did not do so last minute as “probably he got up late”.
In another dig at Rahul Gandhi, Dubey raised the issue of the Supreme Court staying the Congress leader’s conviction in the ‘Modi surname’ remark case following which his Lok Sabha membership was restored.
“There was such a brouhaha over Rahul Gandhi’s return to Parliament but where had he gone…he was here in the Budget session. The Supreme Court has not acquitted him. He has also said he will not say sorry……He says I am not (VD) Savarkar, you can never be Savarkar,” Dubey said.
In a dig at Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, who were both present in the House, Dubey said she was following the traditional Indian woman’s way of “Bete ko set karna hai, damaad ko bhent karna hai (Has to set her son, and gift to her son-in-law)”.
Rijiju vs Ramesh
The Congress hit out at Union minister Kiren Rijiju over his remark that PM Modi directed ministers to visit the Northeast every 15 days.
The grand old party challenged him to furnish details of the visits of Union ministers to Manipur in the last 97 days.
Intervening in the debate on the no-confidence motion against the government, Rijiju said, “When our government was formed, in the first cabinet meeting, (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi ji made a group and said that every 15 days, five cabinet ministers and seven ministers of state must tour the Northeast. It is still going on, all the ministers sitting here have toured the northeast.”
“PM Modi has also given directives to officials to visit the Northeast and meet people. There is no meaning of ruling from Delhi, one can reach the people through service. You never thought about this. The prime minister has won the confidence of the people,” Rijiju said.
Reacting to the remarks, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh called out Rijiju on Twitter for “boasting” about PM Modi’s directions.
“Yes, we all know about the frequency of visits of Union ministers before any election. But it has been 97 days since the horrific ethnic violence broke out in Manipur. INDIA (opposition bloc) asks how many of Modi’s ministers have been to Manipur?” Ramesh said on Twitter.
“We challenge you to furnish details of the visits of Union ministers to Manipur in the last 97 days!” he said.
PM Modi’s dig at opposition
Meanwhile, ahead of the debate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the opposition brought the no-confidence motion to test the confidence of its own alliance members in each other as the INDIA bloc is marked by distrust among its constituents.
In his address to BJP MPs at a closed-door meeting of its parliamentary party, he described the opposition alliance as “ghamandia” (marked by arrogance) and congratulated the party’s Rajya Sabha members for the “semi-final” win in voting on the Delhi services bill, some of those present inside said.
(With inputs from agencies)



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