India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party the BJP has survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament. The Prime Minister’s party won the trust vote with a comfortable majority.
A loss would have forced the government to resign.
Prime Minister Modi won the trust vote with a comfortable majority – of the 451 Members of Parliament who voted, 325 votes were cast in Modi’s favour. His party actually only needed 226 votes to win.
This was something that was always anticipated – the BJP is the single largest party in Parliament, but Friday’s trust vote was less about the numbers and more about the optics.
This was an attempt by the opposition to attack the government ahead of the 2019 general elections in which Modi will be seeking re-election.
Through the debate that preceded the vote on the no-confidence motion, we saw the opposition attack Modi over issues of unemployment, the state of the economy, the agrarian crisis, rising crime against women and children and attacks against minority communities.
The issue of mob lynchings – something that has claimed over 20 lives in the last few months in India – was also raised.
The opposition also accused PM Modi of corruption over a deal the Indian government has signed with the French aviation company Rafale to buy 36 fighter jets. The French government has also refuted this allegation.
In a two-hour speech, Modi not only rejected all of these allegations but also highlighted his government’s successes in the last four years of governance.
He spoke of how his government had electrified India’s villages, provided health care for all, increased the income of farmers, provided pensions for soldiers and helped India become the world’s fastest growing economy.
Modi claimed the no-confidence motion was nothing but the opposition’s attempt to unseat his government. He accused them of being power-hungry.
The highlight of today’s proceedings, however, was an impromptu hug that Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi, the leader of India’s oldest political party gave Modi. Gandhi walked across the Parliament floor right after he accused Modi of misgovernance and hugged him.
The Prime Minister was caught on camera surprisingly looking at the gesture. Gandhi said that his hug was proof that while the Congress stood for peace the BJP had been spreading hate through the country – a reference to the many right-wing groups that support Modi who have been accused of committing crimes against minorities.
The hug was also believed to be an attempt to mock the Prime Minister for hugging world leaders whenever he’s on a foreign tour.