REQUIRED Mature New Approaches

Last week has been full of developments. One major development was the initiative taken by Baba Ramdev to start a 3 days fast at Ramlila Maidan. The press is cynical of  the way the movements started by Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev were dealt with, but, as a social analyst, one cannot ignore these developments. After all, large crowds are gathering without any backing of the government or any major political party. So obviously, both Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev have captured the imagination and affection of the people. Baba Ramdev’s latest initiative is even more commendable because he is reaching out to the Muslim community, organising Iftar and involving them in a resurgence of relations. On the other hand, the unfortunate part is that the government is not only insensitive but even now is hell-bent on making Parliament ineffective. The leader of the Opposition party, Mr. L.K. Advani, called the UPA government ‘illegitimate’. Now, ‘illegitimate’ is not an unparliamentarily word.  If I were in the Congress, I would hear out Mr. Advani patiently and make him tell us on what grounds he was calling the government ‘illegitimate’. After all, free and fare elections were held under the Election Commission. All legal procedures were followed. So his line of arguments should have been heard. Instead of that, the Congress’s bankruptcy of intelligence ‘shouted him down’ and let him withdraw the word. Unfortunately, for the first time, a person like me saw Sonia Gandhi shouting in the most undignified manner. She should keep her cool. She has been running her party quite well, and kept her dignity. But the way she behaved 2 days ago shows that the Congress has reached a stage of desperation. Obviously, the new Leader of the House is ineffective. Whether as a Home Minister he will succeed, I cannot say. But as the Leader of House, in the very first incident, when Sonia Gandhi had to swing in action, shows that he could not lead the House. Obviously, the Leader of the House must lead the House. After that, in the Rajya Sabha, Shinde called Jaya Bachchan ‘filmy’. Now whether she is ‘filmy’ or not, this comment is shallow and flimsy. This is not the way the country’s Home Minister should talk. The Congress should put its house in order, and also respond to all  ‘movements’ in a mature and positive way. Otherwise we will be risking anarchy. Whether this Parliament lasts till 2014 or not, does not matter now.  If  proceedings in Parliament are going to be like this. surely most of the MPs are not going to be re-elected. And you can ignore Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev at your own peril. Because if a movement starts and catches the imagination of the people, whichever constituency Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev tour, and whichever candidate they back will get the majority of the votes. In fact, all the existing political parties should put their house in order, and more so the largest parties, the Congress and the BJP. It is high time that the first step the Congress should take is to appoint a Leader of the House who can lead. They have got senior Ministers among them. Mr. Chidambaram, Mr. Antony, Mr. Jaipal Reddy. Any of them can handle situations and lead the House. To handle Mr. Advani is not a big problem. Mr. Advani is a serious and mature leader. He might have used a word which you don’t like. But not liking a word does not make it unparliamentary. You can argue with him, cool him down, but to shout him down does not augur well for Parliament or parliamentary democracy.

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