India's Modi Defeats No-Confidence Vote as Widely Expected
(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi defeated a no-confidence vote in India’s parliament after a day of raucous debate in which opposition parties assailed the ruling party’s record.
As expected, Modi was able to defeat the opposition-led motion by a vote of 325 to 126 with his Bharatiya Janata Party’s majority in the lower house of parliament. Before the motion was put to vote, the Prime Minister said the exercise was aimed at destabilizing the country.
“To create uncertainty in the country, Congress has brought this no-confidence motion by misusing constitutional provisions,” Modi said, referring to the main opposition party. “We are not here for selfish interests.”
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi of the Congress Party used the vote’s accompanying debate to challenge Modi on what he said were failed economic, defense and foreign policies. In a speech, amid yelling by both sides of the house, he alleged the government was close to India’s business tycoons and had failed to create enough jobs. And there was some drama too, as he walked across the chamber to hug the prime minister at the end of his address.
The vote comes at a challenging time for Modi. India’s national and regional opposition parties have begun to organize coalition arrangements aimed at defeating Modi, who won the first single-party majority in 30 years when he was elected in 2014. It also comes as India, a net oil importer, suffers through a worsening macro economic outlook on the back of rising oil prices.
“The win for Modi was a forgone conclusion and with the vote out of the way, it will give his party the political space to prevent any further attempted disruptions by the opposition,” said Shailesh Kumar, Asia director with political risk advisory Eurasia Group. “The debates during the vote marked the start of the national election campaign, with both sides setting their agenda, taking points, and highlighting the size of their respective support.”
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