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BJD in a fix over no-trust

- BJP mulls Mamata proposal

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi, Nov. 18: Trinamul Congress supremo and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s proposed no-confidence motion against the UPA government in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament got a boost today with senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi stating that her suggestion was under consideration by the party.

The BJD, however, appear to be in a dilemma on the issue of extending support to Mamata. Sources close to BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik told The Telegraph that he would like to watch the developments before announcing his party’s stand on the issue.

Former BJP president Joshi, who was on a day’s private visit to Calcutta, said Mamata had “approached Sushma Swaraj” seeking his party’s support. She called Sushma yesterday. “But since Sushmaji was in Mumbai to attend the funeral of Bal Thackeray, we will sit to discuss the matter after she returns from there,” he said.

Joshi said the NDA would take a call on the matter in a day or two.

“Since we have only 19 members in Lok Sabha and a no-confidence motion requires at least 50 Lok Sabha MPs’ support, Mamata has decided to approach all political parties, starting with the BJP,” said a Trinamul general secretary.

Mamata did not specifically name the BJP, but issued an appeal to “all political parties to support the no-confidence motion”. Asked whether her appeal was addressed to her former ally, the BJP, too, Mamata said: “It is wrong for the BJP to be dubbed untouchable.”

The BJD in Odisha appears to be in two minds on supporting Mamata’s proposal even though party MP Bhratuhari Mahatab said they were against the UPA government. BJD Rajya Sabha member Sasahi Bhusan Behera said: “Though we agree on issues such as opposition to the entry of FDI into the retail sector, the issue of supporting a non-confidence motion is much more serious. It has to be decided at the party’s highest level.”

Earlier, the regional party had made common cause with Mamata not only on FDI, but also on the sensitive issue of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

Mamata today also got a support for the no-confidence motion from an unexpected quarter — the CPI, a constituent of the Left Front that was ousted after a 34-year-old rule. “I see nothing wrong in Mamata’s decision to table a no-confidence motion. It doesn’t matter if Mamata doesn’t have the numbers by her side. Any party in Parliament can table a no-confidence, regardless of its numbers,” CPI MP and trade union leader Gurudas Dasgupta said this afternoon.

He pledged to vote against the UPA II government if Mamata succeeds in gathering 50 MPs to the motion admitted in the House.

“If the Trinamul Congress brings a no-confidence motion against this government, we will not do anything to protect the government. We will vote against it,” he said, adding: “however, Mamata Banerjee will have to arrange for the support of minimum 50 MPs required for initiating the motion.”

“We are opposed to tabling a no-confidence motion against the UPAII government at this juncture,” Acharya, also leader of the CPM parliamentary party, said this afternoon.

“Instead, we have asked for a voting on FDI in multi-brand retail in the House under Rule 184 of Parliament,” he said.

In 542-member House, the CPI has only four MPs in Lok Sabha, while the CPM has 16, and the Forward Bloc and the RSP has two MPs each.