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EXPLAINER: What Is No-Confidence Motion? How It Impacted Previous Governments?

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After the opposition moves the no-trust motion in the parliament over the violence in Manipur, a vote of no-confidence will be conducted against the Modi-led government. The persistent ethnic clashes in Manipur have been a primary cause of the ongoing deadlock in both Houses of Parliament, which has been prevalent since the Monsoon Session commenced on July 20.

WHAT IS NO CONFIDENCE MOTION?

The concept of a “no-confidence motion” has been an important aspect of the country’s democracy where Members of Parliament can express their lack of confidence in the government’s ability to govern effectively.

This parliamentary procedure has seen several high-stakes instances throughout India’s history, shaping the nation’s political landscape and serving as a testament to the dynamism of its democracy.

The Early Years: A Trial Run for Democracy

In the early years after independence, Indian leaders grappled with the nuances of democracy and its various mechanisms. In 1963, the country witnessed its first-ever no-confidence motion against the government led by Jawaharlal Nehru. Though the motion did not succeed, it set a precedent for future political upheavals and tested the strength of parliamentary procedures.

Jawaharlal Nehru (FILE IMAGE)

Turbulence in the 1970s and 1980s

As India navigated through the 1970s and 1980s, the political climate turned turbulent, leading to several no-confidence motions. In 1979, the Janata Party government, helmed by Charan Singh, faced a successful motion, causing the government’s collapse.

Morarji Desai – 1977 (FILE)

The following decade saw a series of political realignments, and in 1990, Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh’s government fell prey to the no-confidence motion. These episodes exposed the fragility of coalition governments and highlighted the significance of coalition-building in Indian politics.

The Era of Coalition Governments

The 1990s brought a wave of coalition governments to power, signifying a shift in India’s political landscape. In 1996, H. D. Deve Gowda’s government faced a no-confidence motion and succumbed to its failure. This led to the inception of a United Front government, followed by another coalition led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1999.

Congress-JD(S) alliance, HD Kumaraswamy, Karnataka, HD Deve Gowda, News Mobile, News Mobile India
File image

The Tug of War: Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Survival

Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister witnessed two no-confidence motions in 1999 and 2003. On April 17, 1999, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition government led by Vajpayee failed to win a confidence vote in the Lok Sabha by a single vote.

These incidents demonstrated the art of negotiation and political manoeuvring necessary to maintain a majority in a diverse parliamentary democracy like India.

The 2018 Saga: Modi’s Triumph

In 2018, the no-confidence motion made headlines again when it was moved against the Modi-led government. This motion served as a litmus test for the ruling party and garnered significant attention. The government’s emphatic win in the motion further cemented Modi’s political prowess and underlined the BJP’s strong position.

India’s journey with no-confidence motions is a reflection of its ever-evolving democracy. From the early trials in the 1960s to the coalitional struggles in the 1990s and the triumphs of more recent years, each instance has played a pivotal role in shaping India’s political landscape. These motions showcase the delicate balance required in parliamentary democracy, where the voice of the people is heard through their elected representatives, and the government’s accountability is paramount.

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