New Delhi, July 20: On Friday, the entire nation (ok, let us not hype it too much and restrict the numbers to only political junkies) will be glued to the television to watch the much awaited debate on no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha.
The best part of the whole debate will be the face-off between Prime Minister Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, both of whom have been attacking and challenging each other for too long in each other's absence.
So when Modi will meet Rahul on the floor of the House, we can definitely expect some fireworks. Going by their previous vitriolic attacks against each other on various public and social media platforms, the direct confrontation between the two rivals will be something we can't miss so easily.
While Modi is known for his oratory skills and a penchant for spinning issues to the advantage of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rahul is slowly and steadily picking up the art of attacking the enemy.
Nonetheless, Rahul is still not equipped enough to handle the surgical strikes of Modi (sorry, we are not referring to the PM's highly publicised attack against Pakistan, but his regular verbal strikes against the Gandhi family and the "namdaar"--a name he had bestowed upon Rahul).
The whole Modi versus Rahul confrontation in the Lok Sabha is totally in favour of the former. The BJP has numbers with it, actually more than it requires to win the trust vote.
In the current 533-member Lok Sabha, the BJP on its own has 273 seats. As 10 seats are lying vacant now, therefore the majority mark in the house now stands at 266. Even if all its allies in the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government backstab the BJP, Modi has nothing to worry about. Modi faces no imminent danger; his throne is safe. He will be the PM of the country, at least till the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress, on its part, has just 48 seats in the Lok Sabha. Several opposition parties--including the Telugu Desam Party which has moved the no-confidence motion-- that have joined hands to ouster the Modi government don't have more than 150 parliamentarians together with them. The NDA's strength in the House is 314.
The number gap between the team Congress and the team BJP in the Lok Sabha is so huge that it easily makes Rahul the "underdog". So it will be the battle of David versus Goliath.
No matter how much the heart wants David to win this political game, the head knows Goliath is so full of strength that it is impossible to see a result in favour of the opposition parties.
Even the timing allotted to the Congress (38 minutes--against the BJP's 3 hours 33 minutes--based on their respective strength in the Lok Sabha) to speak on the floor of the House, further corners Rahul.
Rahul will be the first speaker from the Congress. Since he is the party boss, probably the Congress will give him at least 15 minutes--the time the Gandhi scion has been asking for long to debate with Modi in Parliament--to attack his adversaries.
The PM has the luxury to speak for more than an hour, if he wishes to; after all he is the voice of the BJP. Thus Rahul has to pack a punch within a limited period. The opposition parties have already stated that winning the no-confidence motion is not their goal. They want to highlight the failures of the Modi government from the revered portals of Parliament to the nation.
From mob lynching, farmer suicide, rapes, lack of jobs, atrocities against Dalits and minorities to dangers faced by the democratic institutions, the Opposition would try its best to put the BJP on the mat by raising some of the most pressing issues.
But here again, the BJP has already prepared its ammunition well to attack the opponents, especially the Congress. From Rahul's alleged remark, "the Congress is a Muslim party", to the grand old party's stand on triple talaq, PM Modi will try to attack the Congress where it hurts the most.
Is Rahul well prepared to face his bête noire? Or Modi will once again steal the show ahead of the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram and the all-important 2019 general elections? Before making any predictions, it is better to watch and observe what happens in Parliament on Friday.
Till then, hold your breath.