February 13 will be remembered in history in two ways. On 13 February, Anna Hazare made the biggest announcement of his life – that in the next Lok Sabha elections, he will support Mamata Banerjee for Prime Ministership and he will also carry out an election campaign in favour of her party, the Trinamool Congress. But 13 February will also be remembered as a dangerous black day on which chilli spray was used in the Lok Sabha, there were fisticuffs, and a knife was brandished, though some say it was a broken microphone that was brandished.
Is this the beginning of the end of democracy or should it be considered that the country has reached the final steps before the end of democracy? In our country, the face of Parliamentary democracy is the Lok Sabha. It is expected that people who go to the Lok Sabha will be more intelligent than goons moving on the streets, will be more principled than snatchers and other such elements on the streets, and will be more mature than goons who pull out a knife against each other at every disagreement between themselves. But after seeing what happened in the Lok Sabha on 13 February, it seemed that such people are now a part of the Lok Sabha who have no respect for democracy in mind, nor do they have nor any confidence in debate and dialogue, but can go to any extent for the sake of publicity for themselves.
Is this failure a black blot on the faces of political leaders? None of the parties teach their MPs how to behave and conduct themselves in the Lok Sabha. None of them explain to the MPs the place the Lok Sabha occupies in the country’s democracy, and instead more often than not place emphasis on how Parliament can be used in the form of a base for kickbacks. And when, along with the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the leaders of most other parties too will begin using Parliament to fulfill their selfish and vested interests, then the same thing will happen which happened on 13 February. Look within any political party — they will not know the history of India and nor will they know about the Independence struggle. Who became Members of Parliament and what were their noteworthy speeches, they do not know this either. They do not even know how many historic debates took place in the Parliament of India. When people are not even aware of their history, how can a spirit of pride be a part of them.
A Member of Parliament should be upright, should not be involved in crime, should be aware of and know about the problems of the country, should have faith in the country and should remember that parliamentary democracy, debates and dialogue, debates and dialogue and only debates and dialogue will solve problems. One doesn’t know whether parties leaders will be ashamed or not or whether they will just appear to be ashamed and will actually be patting their lawless MPs on their backs. But it is certain that the time has come when the leaders of all the political parties should sit together and hold a meaningful debate and dialogue on the shameful incident of 13 February.
The Parliament of India is a proud chapter in Indian democracy, in which people like Acharya Kripalani, Nath Pai, Bhupesh Gupta, Raj Narain, Chandra Shekhar and Indira Gandhi have witnessed debates linked with people and this list is quite a long one. But today’s MPs, neither do they know what happened in Parliament, nor do they know how they should behave in Parliament. It is unfortunate the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Lal Krishna Advani, who has long experience of parliamentary life, does not tell the MPs of his party how to behave in Parliament, nor what kind of debates took place and the people who participated in them. Neither are Congress leaders, who have experience without knowledge, able to tell their MPs how to behave in Parliament. There is no point talking about other parties because they use Parliament not for the nation, but for their own party.
One is having to write all this, albeit with sorrow, because we feel that any crazy person can take advantage of such a situation to end democracy. People sitting in Parliament are using democracy to create hatred against democracy. This means that they are cheating the country in two ways. One, they are giving ground to those people who believe in using weapons to end democracy and solve the problems of the people. And two, they are paving the way for people who have no faith in democracy and to whom it seems that the way of fascism is more correct. There are many people in this country, who by taking the name of religion, taking the name of communalism, want to end democracy so that the country can run on the basis of their whims. And it is a matter of regret that many Members in our Parliament become the chief characters in an incident like that of 13 February only because they too do not have faith in a democratic system.
A Member of Parliament should be upright, should not be involved in crime, should be aware of and know about the problems of the country, should have faith in the country and should remember that parliamentary democracy, debates and dialogue, debates and dialogue and only debates and dialogue will solve problems. One doesn’t know whether parties leaders will be ashamed or not or whether they will just appear to be ashamed and will actually be patting their lawless MPs on their backs. But it is certain that the time has come when the leaders of all the political parties should sit together and hold a meaningful debate and dialogue on the incident of 13 February. Whoever blames the other or makes charges against someone, let it be assumed that such a person wants parliamentary democracy to end. Let them look within themselves and introspect. This should be done not in a closed room, but in public, so that the people of the country can understand that whatever they are saying – they really believe in it.
The black day of 13 February has broken the hearts of the people of India. What happened in Parliament on 13 February does not happen even on the streets or in various localities. What happens on the streets and in various localities comes in for criticism and the police takes action, but what happened inside Parliament, there will be no action taken on it, because incidents that take place in Parliament have legal protection. When an MP can enter Parliament with a knife, then it can be assumed that tomorrow any Member can enter Parliament with a bomb or a revolver, and if he gets annoyed, can also shoot. Does this mean that MPs should be searched and frisked?
It seems to me that a search and frisking of MPs entering Parliament will begin in a discreet, undeclared manner because what happened on 13 February, something even more dangerous than that can occur in the future. Members of Parliament themselves can hold other MPs captive. And when MP’s entering Parliament are searched, it can certainly be assumed that the security checks and frisking from which MPs were so far exempted at airports, will now be carried out very strictly by the police. Only Members of Parliament were left in whom the people more or less believed and respected, but some MPs have demonstrated the proportions the disease of crime has reached in Parliament. For all of us who have faith in parliamentary democracy, the incidents of 13 February are shameful. And it appears and shows how dangerous it can prove to be not to provide information about parliamentary democracy to students, not to tell them about the glory of parliamentary democracy, and not to let them take part in the process of parliamentary democracy.