New Delhi, July 19: There are 535 members in the House and the magic number is 268. On Wednesday, a no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government was accepted.
The speaker had ordered a division of votes after rejecting demands for a secret ballot. All MLAs backing EPS voted in his favour.
As Chief Minister of Karnataka prepares to face an acid test in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly tomorrow, the BJP MLAs have been locked up at the Golden Palms resort in the outskirts of Bangalore.
Chief Minister, Sadananda Gowda will have to face an election to the legislative council tomorrow in order to continue serving as the Chief Minsiter. Currently he is a Member of Parliament and in order to server in the state assembly he has to be elected Member of the legislative council.
However the BJP does not want to take any chances of horse trading and has decided to guard its MLAs until the voting commences tomorrow at 9 AM. They will be taken to the Assembly housed in the Vidhan Soudha at 9 am directly.
At the moment it appears as though Gowda will walk through the elections easily. The BJP has its full strength and also the support of 5 independents. The Janata Dal (S) which had first decided to vote in favour of the Congress candidate has not made up its mind on the final decision as of now. Sriramulu who had broken away from the BJP will vote for the Congress candidate, but with the support of just 3 MLAs he will not be able to upset the Chief Minister.
The Congress in Andhra Pradesh survived a test vote. Although it was a trust vote proposed by the Telegu Desam Party, the bigger picture that everyone wanted to see was how much clout could Y Jagan Mohan Reddy yield within the Andhra Pradesh Congress.
At the end of it, he managed the support of 19 rebel Congress MLAs despite proclaiming all these days that he could pull out 40 MLAs from that part with the wave of his hand. The question now is if Jagan really has the amount of support that he claims to have?
The Congress in AP which managed the numbers with the help of the MIM and the PRP says that this only proves that the YSR Congress party does not have the support it talks about. Winning one by-election is not enough to rattle a party which has a history of over a century.
However there is a lot that is taking place behind the scenes and despite the Congress winning the trust vote, they are still in a direct war with the YSR Congress party. Political observers would say that it would have made no sense if this government had fallen. The Congress had already decided that it would keep the assembly under suspended animation in case they lost the trust vote and then they would got an invitation to form the government after six months. In such a scenario, the YSR Congress party which has one MLA only in the house would not have much to do.
There are problems galore for the YSR Congress party. There is still a long way to go before they even matter in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. A source in the Jagan camp said that they would instead wait for the Congress to disqualify the 19 MLAs who cross voted and then go in for by-elections. We are confident that all 19 would win under our ticket and then our strength would 20 in the house. During this period we would also want to build our party in the grass root levels so that we have a good say in the local body polls as well. Speaking of dislodging a government with just one MLA in the house is something very stupid. However the issue that the Jagan camp refuses to address is that they have to go a bit slow in all this since there are a host of cases against their leader being probed by various agencies. Any aggressive move on their part would only ensure that the cases move against him at a quicker pace.
The YSR Congress party now waits for the Congress to disqualify the 19 MLAs following which they would prepare for a by-poll. However the Congress is aware of the strategy and is dragging its feet on the issue of disqualification. Although there was a whip issued to all its MLAs, the Congress has still not acted against those who went against this whip. Each one expected that the Congress would take action against these MLAs in the meetings that were conducted yesterday. However not even a letter has been written to the speaker of the house as yet seeking action against these persons.
The YSR Congress says that this is a deliberate ploy on part of the Congress to delay the evil day. We would however wait a while longer before we can direct these MLAs to resign from the party and then force a by-election. The Congress would try and buy some more time and leave the issue dangling as it would want the YSR Congress to make the first move as then it hopes that the accusation would be on that party for breaking up the Congress.
However the road ahead for Jagan appears to be tough. He may have managed to ensure that 19 MLAs remained loyal to him. However that is not enough as he has to personally ensure that each one of them win the by-election. This would be his real acid test unlike the Kadapa by poll which he won with ease. Losing even one of the seats would send across a wrong message to other Congress who are sitting on the fence trying to cross over into the YSR Congress party.