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No-trust motion lined up

Monsoon clouds over Parliament on Tuesday. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi: The Opposition parties have decided to move a no-confidence motion on the first day of the monsoon session of Parliament on Wednesday to demonstrate their aggressive intent against the Narendra Modi government, which they said had created a "poisonous atmosphere" in the country.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said at a media conference on Tuesday: "All the Opposition parties have concurred on the decision to move a no-confidence motion. There are so many issues of public concern that we want to discuss. Everything can come under the no-confidence motion."

Kharge said the issues were lynching of innocent citizens, job crisis, women's safety, the drift in Kashmir, the alleged dilution of the SC-ST Act, the undermining of institutions, farmers' woes, banking frauds, deposits of abnormally high amount of cash in Ahmedabad district cooperative banks, the ill-effects of demonetisation, black money, the perceived failures in foreign policy and the fall of the rupee.

While the Opposition parties feel they won't get separate opportunities to raise so many diverse issues, the determination of the Telugu Desam Party to again push for a no-confidence motion left the others with no other option. The last session of Parliament had been washed out after the TDP moved a no-confidence motion, forcing the other parties to follow suit.

Although the Opposition parties collectively pressurised Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for two weeks to take up the no-confidence motions, she expressed her inability to do so in the din. The commotion, the Opposition parties had alleged, had been managed by the government through the AIADMK, whose members protested incessantly over the Cauvery water dispute.

It had never happened in the history of Parliament that no-confidence motions pending for so many days were not considered despite the backing of more than the adequate number of MPs. No business could be transacted and the government had blamed the Congress for the deadlock although the trouble was created by the AIADMK.

The leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said on Tuesday: "We hope the government, unlike (in) the last session, does not resort to the same disruptive tactics. We made it clear to the government at the all-party meeting with the Prime Minister on Tuesday that the Opposition wants both the Houses to run. We won't disrupt proceedings. The government has been deliberately bringing in contentious issues to create disruptions."

Azad said the Opposition this time only wanted to debate the promises made by the Prime Minister before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and asked why the government should run away from it.

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