On July 26, 2023, India’s parliament authorized a vote of no-confidence motion supported by opposition parties against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. The criterion for the submission of a no-confidence motion is that 50 members of parliament must support it.
Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) speaker Om Birla admitted a notice for a no-confidence motion by Congress lawmaker Gaurav Gogoi, which will set the stage for a parliamentary battle between the ruling National Democratic Alliance NDA and the newly constituted Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance INDIA. This will start on August 8 and Prime Minister Modi will reply on August 10. The main reason for this vote of a no-confidence motion is to trigger a debate and to force Hindu Nationalist leaders to address in detail concerns about ethnic clashes in India’s state Manipur.
Manipur is a state which is located in the Northeast of India. It is tucked in the mountains and also borders two regions of Myanmar, Saging region in the east and Chin state to the south. The state covers an area of 22,327km per square. Manipur was once ruled by a patchwork of kings and tribal confederations. It appears to be different from the rest of India. Its culture is highly borrowed from East Asia. It is also a state that has never been fully reconciled to central rule and some guerilla forces and groups still pursue an effort to break it away from the rest of India. Ethnic clashes have occasionally erupted in the past between different groups living in the state. Most of these clashes occur between minority Christian Kukis who live in the hills and majority Hindu Meiteis who live in plain areas down the hill. But there was no killing, rampage of hate, and firebombing which began to happen after May 2023. The main reason for the eruption of such violence was the clashes occur between Meiteis and Kukis when Meiteis demanded special rights of education, jobs, and property.
The violence in Manipur began on May 3, 2023 after the court ordered the government of the state, which is of BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), to consider extending economic benefits and quotas in government jobs and education which were previously enjoyed by the tribal Kukis who are mainly Christians to the majority Hindu Meiteis population as well. After the announcement of special rights also given to Hindu Meiteis, Kukis protested in the plain areas of Meiteis and a clash occurs between them within a few days police armories were looted. Both sides were armed to unleash havoc. Angry mobs and armed gangs swept into villages and towns, burning down houses, massacring civilians, and driving tens of thousands from their homes. More than 50 thousand people fled to packed relief camps. Moreover, Manipur’s unseen war is not broadcast online as well not telecast the government said making news and information available on the internet will further add fuel to violence by spreading misinformation and rumors. The internet is also banned in the state.
The situation in the Manipur state is like a civil war said Sushant Singh, a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in India and an Indian army veteran, “It is as close to civil war as any state in independent India has ever been”.
The opposition wants the Prime Minister to speak on this ethnic clash occurring in Manipur that’s why they have adopted the vote of no-confidence motion against him. However, despite knowing the fact that the BJP has a clear majority of 301 members of a total of 542 seats in the lower house of parliament. Opposition still demands a no-confidence motion because they wanted to trigger a debate about the violence in the remote, BJP–ruled Manipur state in which more than 130 people have been killed and 60,000 displaced since it began in early May.
One of the members of the opposition coalition, Raghav Chadha of the Aam Aadmi Party said: “In India’s parliamentary history, a critical instrument of debate, dialogue, and discussion within parliament are exercised regardless of the outcome”
Ethnic tensions in the small state of 3.2 million people are seen as a security and political failure by Modi’s government as Kodikunnil Suresh, a Congress legislator, told reporters that: “The prime minister is not ready to make a statement. The prime minister has to come to the parliament and make the statement. Manipur is burning”
Thus even though a vote of no-confidence will not affect the stability of the BJP government, the opposition still prefers to do so because they want the Prime Minister to address the ongoing violence in Manipur state. On the one side where the opposition is highlighting the violence in Manipur, the government is claiming that the situation is in control of them.