Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Telangana trauma Battered Congress faces humiliation of no-confidence motion moved by its Andhra MPs

New Delhi: A down-and-out Congress in the aftermath of Sunday's electoral rout faced the humiliation of a no-confidence motion moved by its own party members from Andhra. It is both a unique and absurd situation when the no-confidence motion is moved not by the opposition but by its own rank and file. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley's observation that after the Sunday rout, the UPA government has become a lame duck government has become too real too soon. Is it then the beginning of the end for the nearly-decade old Manmohan Singh government? What will follow in the Winter Session of Parliament looks like the unravelling of the UPA. On the day after the rout in four state assembly elections in a large swathe of north India, the Congress party was faced with rebellion from angry Andhra members in Lok Sabha and from trusted ally, Samajwadi Party over Muzaffarnagar communal riots in Uttar Pradesh. Another ally and member of UPA government, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar talked about the 'weak leadership' of the UPA as the cause for its troubles. Both houses of parliament were disrupted over the issues of Telangana and Muzaffarnagar riots and they had to be adjourned for the day. There was greater trouble awaiting the ruling party during the day when seven of its own Lok Sabha members from the Andhra region moved a no-vonfidence motion against the UPA government. Speaking to dna, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, from Guntur in the heart of Andhra, said that he and six of his other colleagues from Andhra had no option but to move the no-confidence motion against the government. He said that the people in Andhra were angry about the decision on the formation of Telangana, and when some of the Andhra MPs submitted their resignations to Speaker Meira Kumar, she did not accept them. He said that this was also one of the reasons that they had to take the extreme step of moving the no-confidence motion. Indulging in a legal and logical quibble, he says that the no-confidence motion was not against the Congress Party but against the UPA government. Rao refused to name the leaders responsible in the UPA government for the decision on the formation of Telangana. One of the senior Congress leaders in Rajya Sabha speaking on condition of anonymity blamed the wrong advise given to party president Sonia Gandhi on the Telangana issue. The leader said it was natural that Sonia Gandhi depends on party colleagues who are dealing with the problem to apprise her of the situation, and that she has been given wrong information which has culminated in the disastrous decision to form Telangana. Apart from the seven Andhra MPs, the no-confidence motion is supported by four of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and three of the YSR Congress (led by Jaganmohan Reddy) MPs as well. These members believe that the motion will be supported by other disgruntled allies like the NCP, the DMK, the SP apart from other opposition parties. While the Andhra MPs' main anger against the UPA government is over the issue of Telangana, the no-confidence motion is about lack of confidence in the UPA government. The Congress MPs are ready to face the consequences of their act of rebellion, which could involve disciplinary action and even expulsion from the party. Rao says that long-time loyalists of the party like him are being ignored and that nether he nor others from the Andhra region were consulted by the party leaders before taking the decision on the formation of Telangana. The senior Congress leader who spoke on condition of anonymity has asserted that the Congress will not win even two seats in Telangana and that it will be wiped out in the Andhra region. The impending disaster for the Congress in Andhra is being blamed on the “sycophants” who surround Sonia Gandhi and who giver her wrong advice.

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