Confidence in no-confidence motion very low

Updated: Nov 20, 2012, 11:33 AM IST

Pankaj Sharma/Zee Research Group

To topple the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, many opposition parties led by the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) are building consensus to bring a no-confidence motion in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament, set to start from Thursday. But, this formula to pull down the ruling government has tasted success only once in the history of India.

A Zee Research Group (ZRG) study finds that barring one which remained inconclusive, all the no-trust motion in the past had been negative. Morarji Desai had on July 15, 1979 resigned as prime minister, after numerous defections from the coalition in Parliament, to avoid a vote of no-confidence. The ZRG analysis shows that so far, a total of 26 no-confidence motions have been moved against the incumbent regimes since 1952.

The last no-trust motion was moved in 2003 by Congress president Sonia Gandhi against the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which was easily defeated in Parliament. The motion was defeated by 314 to 189 votes.

In the first two Lok Sabhas, no such motion was admitted. The first no-confidence motion in the history of Lok Sabha was moved by socialist Acharya Kripalani against Jawahar Lal Nehru in August of 1963. The second prime minister of independent India, Lal Bahadur Shashtri faced three no-confidence motions - one in 1964 and two during 1965; without much trouble all three got defeated. Interestingly, the government led by Indira Gandhi faced a record 15 no-confidence motions.

The government led by Rajiv Gandhi faced one trust of vote moved by C Madhav Reddy, in 1987, but the motion was defeated by voice-vote.

PV Narsimha Rao faced three no-confidence motions during his tenure (1991-96) as the prime minister. The first two no-confidence motions were smoothly defeated in 1992 by the Rao government. Furthermore, in July 1993, Rao with the support of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) members defeated a motion of no-confidence by 265 votes to 251.

As per rules, the no-confidence motion which can only be moved in the Lower House of Parliament requires support of 50 members to be admitted. But, if numbers are not adequate to pull down the government and the motion fails, for the next six months another motion cannot be brought in the House. If the House passes the no- confidence motion, the Prime Minister is obliged to submit the resignation of his Council of Ministers.

And in order to demonstrate the support of the majority of the House, a motion of confidence is moved by the ruling party. The first instance of confidence motion occurred when in 1979 the President directed the then prime minister, Charan Singh, to seek confidence of the Lok Sabha. And even before the motion was taken up, Singh resigned because he was unable to gather required support.

So far, 12 confidence motions have been discussed in the Lok Sabha, in which five PMs have resigned from their post. In 1999, Vajpayee’s was the last government to fall by one vote. In the 14th Lok Sabha, Dr Manmohan Singh also opted for the confidence motion on the Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008 and proved majority support in Parliament.

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