India PM Modi’s government defeats no-confidence motion

The government of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi defeated a no-confidence motion in parliament on Thursday after a fiery speech by the premier at the climax of a three-day debate.

Opposition lawmakers — who had brought the motion over months of ethnic violence in Manipur state — walked out of the chamber, prompting a furious rebuke from the premier, with the government then winning the vote.

The walkouts, according to broadcasters, included Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, who on Wednesday said Modi’s government was “set on burning the whole country”.

Modi denounced them, saying: “Those who don’t trust democracy are always ready to make a comment but don’t have the patience to hear (the rebuttal).”

They would “speak ill and run away, throw garbage and run away, spread lies and run away”, he added, to cheers from his own benches.

“This is their game and the country can’t expect much from them.”

The no-confidence vote was dismissed by the government ahead of the vote as a headline-grabbing gimmick ahead of a general election next year.

Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a large majority in the 543-member lower house, and is widely expected to win a third term in power.

Its muscular appeals to India’s Hindu majority have proven a winning formula, and Modi has already steered it to two landslide victories over Gandhi and his Congress party.

“I can understand the Congress party’s problem,” Modi said Thursday. “They have been launching the same failed product again and again, but the launch fails every time.”

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