BJP Create Grand Narrative for 2024 in No-Confidence Motion
There was never any doubt that the NDA would reject the motion of no confidence motion. In the end, a voice vote was used to decide the issue. But take a look at the optics!
The opposition parties were aware that they would never have enough votes to pass the no-confidence motion. However, to compel the prime minister to address Manipur, the newly formed I.N.D.I.A. alliance, led by the Congress, introduced a vote of no-confidence.
The Opposition leaders staged a walkout 90 minutes into the speech before Narendra Modi brought up the subject, giving the floor and the nation’s rapt attention to a leader who knows how to use the occasion when they finally got their wish and he was giving his response to the motion.
As a citizen of India, I can see it and if I try I can digest it as “the beauty of Indian democracy” where a political party can walk out in the middle of a session. Another reason to accept this is that if I turn to Indian political history, there have been many times when BJP has chosen such a route and walked out in the middle of the debate.
For once, the reflexive conspiracy theorist might be excused for believing that everything going on is a 64-D chess game being orchestrated by the BJP. Nothing else could be political suicide if this isn’t.
In the end, the Opposition’s bluster and sloganeering were for naught because they didn’t even bother to stay for the vote on a resolution they had themselves proposed, sending a message of self-humiliation, muddled priorities, and confused thinking while also risking losing the public’s trust and credibility.
The idea that a returning Rahul Gandhi would steal the podium with a mixture of swagger, righteous vengeance, and vindication and set the stage for a stinging rebuke of the prime minister may have been sold lock, stock, and barrel to the Opposition leaders, some of whom were seasoned and astute. That was the plan, at least. Rahul has let himself and those who believed in his mythical political prowess down previously.
In the end, the Opposition erred on two fronts. One is that the blame for Manipur’s administrative collapse did not fall on the ruling party. If ever there was a cause that was ready to go, this was it. Once Parliament was in session, all the opposition had to do was hold the government accountable and challenge the treasury benches.
The stage was set for a scathing critique of the Centre and state government’s failure to control the violence and restore normalcy in Manipur, which has already seen over 150 deaths, destruction of property, livelihoods, and grave abuse of women, rather than holding the Parliament to ransom over the prime minister’s presence.
When Union Home Minister Amit Shah told the Parliament that “the Opposition never wanted a discussion on the Manipur issue, I was ready for the discussion from day one. There was some truth to the opposition’s claims that they were “running away” from the discussion and that they “don’t want me to speak, but they can’t silence me.” Instead of focusing solely on Modi, Shah would have had to respond to the Opposition’s pointed questions if they had come prepared with them and demanded an answer from him.
As it turned out, Shah had the opportunity to frame the discussion in his terms, positioning it as one in which the Opposition was only interested in posturing and he was prepared to offer the solutions. Shah provided a thorough account of the timeline of events in Manipur and the government’s response to the unrest in a lengthy address on Wednesday.
He went into detail about how he had several conversations with the prime minister following the outbreak of violence on May 3, how the state’s DGP, chief secretary, and security advisor were immediately replaced, how a commission of inquiry had been established, how the number of fatalities had dropped since the deployment of 36,000 paramilitary personnel, and how the Indian Army, BSF, CRPF, Assam Rifles, and Manipur Police had established a unified command for coordination.
Although there has been much discussion regarding Modi’s decision to avoid the violent state, Shah noted that “Modi has visited the Northeast over 50 times in the last nine years,” adding that “there were numerous violent incidents in Manipur during Congress rule, yet no home minister went there.
“While I only stayed there for three days, our MoS Nityanand Rai stayed there nonstop for 23 days.” It was notable that not a single leader of the opposition was prepared to confront him with the truth.
This suggests that the Opposition lacked sincerity on the subject of internal unrest and insurgency in a crucial northeastern state and that Manipur was merely a political gimmick.
The second tactical error made by the Opposition was to file a no-trust motion against the NDA, effectively guaranteeing that Modi would be able to establish the framework for the 2024 campaign from the most prominent position. The opposition was powerless to stop Modi from speaking exclusively about Manipur once the decision was made and put into motion.
NCP leader Supriya Sule told reporters that “we expected him (PM Modi) to speak on the economy, inflation, unemployment, Manipur, and the issue of brutalities on women of Manipur but in one and a half hour 90% of his speech was on I.N.D.I.A.” in response to the Opposition’s decision to stage a walkout.
This displays political ignorance. The fact is that the opposition should have anticipated that Modi, a skilled orator, would take advantage of the occasion to introduce his quasi-presidential campaign for the general elections of 2024, highlighting the important accomplishments of the NDA administration and highlighting the contradiction at the center of the opposition alliance.
In the end, Modi did just that. He framed the story of a rising India, which is on track to overtake China as the third-largest economy in the world, and positioned himself as the inevitable leader who will assist the youth in realizing their goals and dreams while casting doubt on the Opposition’s lack of direction and foresight. Modi thrives on grand narratives of this nature, and the opposition handed it to him with open arms.
Rahul Gandhi was the target of several barely disguised jabs from Modi during his speech, including the description of him as a “failed product” that hasn’t taken off despite numerous relaunches. He wasn’t required to. Rahul did a respectable job of squandering an excellent chance to establish himself as the head of the opposition alliance.
Rahul’s lack of political knowledge was made abundantly clear during his rambling, meandering speech. He ought to have concentrated on Manipur and launched a persuasive, convincing, and logical attack against the Modi government’s handling of the crisis, rather than talking about his knee pain and psychedelic experiences while on the yatra. His remarks could be split into two sections. The first section was a discursive dive into his yatra’s philosophical insights, but even then, his similes and metaphors fell flat.
The second section was a furious tirade against the government in which his penchant for showmanship and inflammatory language came at the expense of effectively conveying to the populace the gravity of the Manipur crisis. Although he seemed passionate, he didn’t leave a lasting impression.
When compared to Modi’s speech, the differences are obvious. The opposition’s misguided strategy helped the prime minister, who stuck to his plan and ignored the constant sloganeering on Manipur until he was ready to bring it up.
Some of the issues that the PM brought up during his extensive speech, which lasted just over two hours, warrant their column.
It’s noteworthy that he used the opportunity to give a thorough explanation of the efforts his government has been making to help India achieve its goals rather than just making snide remarks and jabs at the Opposition. He discussed the important legislation that was passed during this session, not forgetting to accuse the opposition of shirking its duties. He also provided a detailed account of the welfare programs that were implemented and their effects, the turnaround of PSUs, and the banking industry. Finally, in an audacious move that showed his dexterity, he elaborated on the dangers of the Congress party’s free-rider culture and its fiscal irresponsibility.
He criticized the opposition for lacking imagination and failing to do their homework, declared that peace would soon return to Manipur, and emphasized that the northeast, also known as “India’s jigad ka tukda,” would soon take the lead as the country’s growth and development engine. When the highway connecting Myanmar and Thailand is finished, Modi predicted that Manipur will become the hub of trade and connectivity with East Asia, tying tectonic shifts in South-East Asia and ASEAN to the state’s development.
According to the prime minister, “our government has given priority to the development of the northeast,” adding that “goods train reached Manipur for the first time, Vande Bharat was introduced to the area, first, greenfield airport was constructed in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim connected to air travel, AIIMS opened in the region, National Sports University is being opened in Manipur, This message of progress was delivered alongside the framing of the Opposition as an “arrogant dynast” (Ghamandia, a play on the word “I.N.D.I.A.”) alliance that is corrupt, engages in vote-bank politics, is fiscally irresponsible, puts the party ahead of the country in its lust for power, and will drag India down if elected to power. At the beginning of his speech, Modi made a tongue-in-cheek statement about how ‘grateful’ he was that the Opposition had brought a no-trust motion against him. He wasn’t too far off the mark.
The BJP used the no-confidence motion to its advantage, providing a platform for Prime Minister Modi to outline his vision for India in 2024. On the other hand, the opposition took several wrong steps, including walking out of the debate and failing. Provide a coherent alternative to the schemes of the government. This has damaged the credibility of the opposition and made it less likely that they will be able to challenge the BJP in the next election.