Amid the two ‘no-confidence’ motions moved in Parliament – one by the Congress, another by the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) – Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha (RS) MP Raghav Chadha, in a conversation with CNN-News18, said he hopes that “in this no-confidence motion, like the convention, it is the Prime Minister who will come to the House, respond to all questions asked by the MPs, particularly those pertaining to the prevailing issues in Manipur”.
What is the purpose of this no-confidence motion as you do not have the numbers in the Lok Sabha?
At times, instruments of Parliament are used and deployed to compel the government to respond to issues and challenges that are being faced by the people of India. It is a legitimate parliamentary instrument called the ‘no-confidence’ motion, which members of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) group are planning to move against the government with the sole objective that regardless of the outcome, a long, detailed comprehensive discussion on the issue of Manipur and other prevailing issues of the country can take place. Every member is permitted to speak and place their concerns before the government, which is headed by the honorable Prime Minister, and they are compelled to respond. It is our parliamentary convention that towards the conclusion of the no-confidence motion, no less than the Prime Minister speaks and concludes the debate. We hope that even in this no-confidence motion, the Prime Minister will respond to the questions asked by the MPs, particularly pertaining to the prevailing issues and challenges the mankind is facing in Manipur.
What message do you think will go out when the ‘no-confidence’ motion is defeated?
Regardless of the outcome, parliamentary instruments go a long way in actually strengthening India’s democracy. These instruments are a healthy practice that basically compel the government to respond and the Prime Minister to answer some very pertinent questions. The government, which is running away from press conferences, and is only comfortable with closed-door conversations with friendly journalists and cheerleaders, is today compelled to come to Parliament, face the opposition and respond to the important questions that they are raising on behalf of the people of India. It is a healthy practice and one should look at the merits of the instrument.
On Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah offered to conduct a discussion to break the stalemate between the opposition and ruling parties. He had taken a step to resolve the deadlock. Why are the opposition parties not responding?
I will give a small suggestion, unsolicited advice to them. Instead of writing letters to leaders of the opposition or getting articles published in newspapers that say “we are ready for a discussion”, please come to the house, accept notices under Rule 267 and commence a long-duration discussion. We are all ready. Twenty-five per cent of the total members of Rajya Sabha filed a notice under Rule 267, seeking a discussion on Manipur. If more than 25% are filing notices actively asking for a discussion, almost all non-NDA members are asking for a discussion, why is a discussion not happening? A discussion is not happening because the government is running away from it. If the government of the day wants the house to run, the house will run.
The Union Cabinet approved the Bill to replace the Delhi ordinance. It will be placed in the house anytime now. You don’t have the numbers…
This entire exercise of the Delhi ordinance is illegal and unconstitutional. It is not just an affront to the two crore people of Delhi, it is a direct challenge to the majesty of the honorable Supreme Court, overturning its decision within eight days of its pronouncement. Political parties in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, the right-minded people who believe in India’s Constitution, who believe in protecting India’s democracy and believe that the federal structure of the country must remain, will certainly rise to the occasion and defeat the ordinance.
You really don’t think that it (the Delhi Bill) can be defeated. You don’t have the numbers. You have not reached out to parties like the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) and they are the ones who would decide in the Rajya Sabha.
Ultimately, one will know when the ordinance is placed before the members for voting. I don’t wish to second guess the outcome and it would be improper to do so. We have appealed to everyone. I appeal to members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also that you may be in a political party that is ideologically opposed to us, has some pathological hatred for us, but understand that this is not about party politics. This is about saving and safeguarding India and India’s Constitution, and helping us defeat the ordinance. Once the ordinance is defeated, at least more non-NDA states will not be troubled or stripped off all their powers, the way they are doing in Delhi.
You managed to get the Congress on your side. The AAP wanted the Congress to come out openly and oppose the ordinance. What is your big takeaway?
It is not just the Congress. My leader Arvind Kejriwal went and knocked on the doors of every political party and every political leader from the Janata Dal (United) (JDU) to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) to Trinamool Congress (TMC) to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Samajwadi Party (SP). We have not sought the support of the Congress alone, but the Congress is a substantial player. The Congress has got a significant strength in the Rajya Sabha and we are very happy and delighted that they have come to support us. It is not about supporting AAP or Kejriwal. It is about protecting democracy.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister took a dig at the opposition parties, the nomenclature. How would you respond to that?
I am personally hurt by the fact that the nomenclature adopted by the opposition group, INDIA, is being twisted and viewed from the prism of either a terrorist organisation such as the Indian Mujahideen or the East India Company, the once British conglomerate. It is important that the people in the government and the Prime Minister introspect that the country is called India. You run a government that is called the Government of India. This government is run by a book that is called the Constitution of India, the head of the government of India has a man whose office is called the Prime Minister of India. The Prime Minister of India has come out with schemes and initiatives such as Skill India, Make in India, Digital India, Khelo India and Padhega India Badhega India. In fact, if my memory serves me right, they had come out with a campaign for the Lok Sabha elections called ‘Shining India’. They shouldn’t possibly be opposed to the word, it would be very petty and perhaps borderline offensive for them to now degrade ‘India’ and compare it to a terrorist organisation. It does not behove the office that the honorable PM holds.
I had filed a question to solicit an answer from the Ministry of Home Affairs over Manipur Violence.My question was rejected on the ground that it is not primarily the concern of the Government of India and it on a matter which is under adjudication by a court of law.
— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) July 26, 2023
One of your MPs, Sanjay Singh, will not be able to vote when the Delhi Bill is presented in the Rajya Sabha.
This is one of the strategies adopted by the ruling party. Suspend as many as you can, so that the numbers fall even further. But when the truth is with you, when you are on the right path, fighting for the greater good, all powers of the universe come to back you. I hope and truly believe that is what happens when the Delhi ordinance is presented.