Ahead of a critical no-confidence vote which the Narendra Modi government is facing in the Parliament, BJP President Amit Shah called up Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
The conversation was part of the hectic consultations that have been on since morning on both sides of the political divide. The NDA’s numbers ensure a comfortable outcome for the government. Sena has been BJP’s ally in both Maharashtra and Union government but is one of the strident critics of the Modi government.
Soon after Amit Shah’s call, Shiv Sena decided to vote against the no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha on Friday. The party has issued a whip, directing their MPs to support the government tomorrow.
The NDA has 312 members (without the Speaker) in the 533-member house. The majority mark, however, stands at 266 as 10 seats are vacant. The Congress and the other parties that support the no-trust motion have 172 seats. The AIADMK, Naveen Patnaik’s BJD and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi together command 68 seats. Indicating that his party will not support the no-trust vote, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami said: “The TDP has moved this motion to highlight issues in Andhra Pradesh. No state supported Tamil Nadu when we stalled proceedings in parliament over Cauvery”.
Amit Shah even in the past has tried to reach out to grumbling ally Shiv Sena. He paid a visit to Uddhav Thackeray’s house recently as part of BJP’s outreach programme ahead of Lok Sabha elections. Now, Shah called up Uddhav Thackeray requesting him to support the government in the no-confidence motion. The BJP is well placed to defeat the no-confidence motion but wants to avoid any potential face loss of allies voting with the opposition.