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Friday , November 23 , 2012
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21 not enough for national adulthood

Nov. 22: The Trinamul Congress-sponsored no-trust motion collapsed in the Lok Sabha today after the notice could not find endorsement from more than 21 MPs, well short of the 50 needed.

The focus in Parliament has now shifted to a debate on FDI in retail. The BJP, which has tactically allied with the Left after spurning Mamata Banerjee’s overtures, is insisting on a debate and voting but the government has said a policy cannot be voted upon.

The Samajwadi Party and the BSP, which hold the key in case of a headcount, are learnt to have set irreconcilable terms on the government for backing its position. ( )

But the afternoon was consumed by what was being termed the second “national misadventure” by Mamata. The no-trust loss of face came on the heels of the flip-flop over presidential polls.

The no-confidence motion found few backers, although Trinamul Lok Sabha leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay had walked up to leaders of the BJP, Samajwadi Party, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the JD(U) to seek support.

The number reached 21 because of Trinamul’s 18 (minus dissident MP Kabir Suman) and three MPs from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). But the BJD appeared to be offering only token support as just three of its 14 MPs were present when the matter was taken up.

SUCI’s lone MP Tarun Mandal did not stand up in support. Members of the BJP, JD(U), Shiromani Akali Dal, SP, the Left parties and smaller parties sat tight when Speaker Meira Kumar counted support and disallowed the motion.

Having already read the writing on the wall, the Trinamul attempt to marshal support also appeared half-hearted. Sudip launched his effort when a couple of minutes were thrown up because of an adjournment at noon.

Sudip first reached out to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. He then walked to the other side, speaking to BJP’s Sushma Swaraj and Akali leaders and finally JD(U) president Sharad Yadav.

The Trinamul leader, however, refrained from approaching the Left members though the CPM’s Basudeb Acharia and the CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta were present.

After the motion fell through, Mamata posted on Facebook that her party had exposed “the saviours of the government”.

But several Trinamul leaders in Calcutta said the flop-show exposed Mamata’s poor mastery of national politics.

They said the no-trust drive was mostly reduced to a game of one-upmanship. As the CPM had already declared it would move a resolution against FDI in retail, Mamata wanted to take a more strident posture against the UPA government, a Trinamul MP said.

“This she could do only by bringing a no-confidence motion against the UPA government because the FDI space had already been occupied by the Left,” he said.

But the “haste” which Mamata displayed while announcing the no-trust motion and wrong “timing” led to her undoing, the Trinamul leader said. “She should have first tried to convince the other parties on the need to topple the government before rushing headlong into announcing the motion. It was an unprepared move that lacked prudence.”

Some Trinamul leaders said that Mamata should have realised that none of the major Opposition parties wanted elections now.

A section of Trinamul leaders feels that Mamata’s “desperation” to topple the UPA is also linked to the Centre’s moves to “tighten the screws” on some MPs close to her. For instance, the serious fraud investigation office under the corporate affairs ministry has already started a probe against a company headed, till recently, by a Trinamul MP.

Besides, a Congress minister and a Trinamul leader have sought a central probe into chit fund companies in Bengal. “Some fund operators are close to some Trinamul leaders,” a source said. “They could be in trouble if the Centre cracks down.”