Let A New Parliament Show The Way

The last session of this Lok Sabha has ended. With it, the last session of the Government — UPA 2 — came to an end. Who wins the election, is an open question. But let us look back the ten years – it is a fairly reasonable period to assess the performance of any Government. I do not hold the Government much responsible, as many people would like to, for the economic front. America is in crisis, Europe is in crisis, compared to that India is in less of a crisis. To go on putting the blame on the Finance Minister – he is doing things he should not be doing or he is not doing what he should be doing takes us nowhere. A serious student of economics can find small faults with the Government but not big ones. Inflation is not under control and that is a real cause of anger among people, but I doubt that whether any other Government would have really reined in inflation. That is not easy. However, having said that, the real problem is that on all other fronts, these ten years have been disastrous.
First you take on parliamentary norms, procedures, Government functioning norms and procedures. In the history of independent India, there has never been such blantant disregard for norms and rules as first UPA 1 did and then UPA 2. What UPA 1 did, came to light under UPA 2. Issuing a tender after a particular date, closing the tender before that date, giving contracts and tenders and spectrum to yiur cronies. All this was never done blatantly even earlier. People have a habit of running down Indira Gandhi and now even Jawahar Lal Nehru. I am surprised after seeing what has happened in the last ten years, even the bureaucracy should understand that if this is going to be the hallmark, the day is not far off when there will be no democracy left in this country.
Why has the Army taken over Pakistan? Because they saw that the politicians are only lining their pockets. They are not concerned about the people. They are not concerned about the mandate for which they were elected to power. There is a limit. Once the limit is breached, the Army interferes. I hope that sad date will never come in India’s history. But, we have to say that in these ten years, the powers that be have tried their utmost to provoke the Army to interfere. It is our good fortune that the Indian Armed forces are dedicated to their task and they do not want to look this side. But, it is no thanks to the ruling elite.
This session of parliament is of course the peak. Two things. First, we are carving out a State without the consent of the State assembly which has not passed a resolution for making the State into two. This itself is a serious erosion of federalism. If it has been decided that the States have to be reorganised, it has to be done on all India basis. Ad hoc you cannot break one State without the assembly having passed it. Telangana has a strong case. There has to be a Telangana. But the way it has been done is very shabby, very detrimental to the functioning of democracy, to the extent that the Congress’s own Chief Minister resigns. This is a very, very clumsy state of affairs. I do not think any other Government before this has done this so blatantly.
Parliamentary procedures, the whole world has seen on TV papers being snatched, the UP assembly had seen all this before but never the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. So where are we heading? We want to stop the exercise of having the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha? We want to have police guarding the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, we want MPs being frisked? What is left? I am ashamed — I have been a part of the Rajya Sabha, I have seen Lok Sabha proceedings from the gallery, I have seen the dignified way in which the House was conducted. Maximum, somebody used an unparliamentarily word and that was expunged. That’s it. Beyond that, nothing. Now we have come to fisticuffs. People are snatching from the secretary general. People are holding each other. Now, who is responsible for all this? The members. Whose responsibility is to correct this? The Prime Minister’s. He is the leader of the Government. Of Sonia Gandhi, who got the mandate and she appointed Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister. I am sorry to say in this hurry of elections coming, they have forgotten their duties. There was no hurry. Once a controversy stirred they should have postponed Telangana to be taken up by the new Government. If they think they by carving out Telangana, they will win some seats, that can’t take them into the Government. The BJP also thought that instead of opposing Telangana it would be better to support it because in principle they had supported it earlier.
But, the whole manner in which this work was done has left a bad taste in the mouth and it only gives a fillip to non political forces. The people who are sitting on the fence, always saying that this democracy is no good, they will again get a fillip. The people who are against parliamentary democracy will get a boost. Is this what all parliamentarians together are achieving? Do we want parliamentary democracy to go? Two months are left for the parliamentary elections and there is no further parliament session so nothing can be rectified. But, I think the message should go loud and clear in this election by all parties, especially the Congress and the BJP, that the new Lok Sabha will not be conducted like this. Proper rules will be followed. The Speaker will be strict. Members should be named and of course, least to say, we have heard that even in the Congress party they knew in the morning that the pepper spray is going to used, it was all engineered. If that is true it is of course shameful. They do not deserve to rule. We can only hope now that the new parliament will show us the way and bring back India on the road to prosperity, development and democratic functioning.

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