As expected–albeit a couple of weeks earlier than expected–the minority government of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tested its confidence before the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) and won.
Via the Hindustan Times (21 July):
â€œIt (trust motion) was fully avoidable,” Manmohan Singh said as he moved the one-line motion seeking the trust of parliament for his government — reduced to minority after the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left parties withdrew their legislative support in protest against the governmentâ€™s move to carry the India-US civil nuclear deal forward.
“I have repeatedly assured all, including the Left parties, that I myself would come to the guidance of parliament before operationalising the nuclear deal, if we were allowed to go to the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to finalise the India-specific safeguards agreement),â€ said Manmohan Singh.
He said he regretted that the government had to seek a trust vote at a time its attention was on the economy, especially on controlling inflation and “implementing the welfare programmes for the people, particularly the farmers”.
The vote, on 22 July, was 275-256 (Press Trust of India).
There is also dissension within the Left, with Somnath Chatterjee, the first Marxist to become a Lok Sabha Speaker, expelled from the Communist Party India (Marxist)2 for presiding over Singh’s call for confidence (Hindustan Times, 23 July).
So, at least for now, Singh and his government appear as strong as ever, and well positioned for general elections that must be held by late spring, 2009.
- Often referred to as a Third Front, after the governing Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and the main opposition, BJP-led, National Democratic Alliances [↩]
- Yes, the parenthetical adjective is part of its name: CPI(M). His having been chosen to be Speaker had been part of the agreement between the Left and the UPA, which was broken two weeks ago when the Left pulled support over the minority government’s nuclear deal. [↩]