Millennium Post

This time, let’s not rain disruption

As a barrage of volatile issue continues to rock Parliament even though the monsoon session in only in its first few days.  Reports of the upper and lower houses being stalled are pouring in, while unseemly sloganeering and shouting at the hallowed precincts are televised live every day. With matters as pressing as the renewed aggression from across the LoC, the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, as several crucial bills, such as food security, women’s reservation among others, wait in the wings, obstructionism is the last thing that Parliament needs right now, since it is only through a productive monsoon session that the faith of the people of India will be restored in the idea of a functioning parliamentary democracy, especially at the last legs of the 15th Lok Sabha.

It is worth nothing that over the decades, house grouse has taken a huge toll on the proper functioning of Parliament, with its members becoming increasingly unruly and unmanageable, having little respect for the sanctity of the institution. While in the 1950s, it used to meet for 140 days a year, currently, parliament sessions have been cut down to a mere 60-70 days per annum, that is almost half of the time that it used to devote to discussions and debates 50 years back. It is regrettable, further, that despite having much less time on hand, the parliamentarians prefer to squander most if away by blocking the regular operations and sessions, thereby giving a sad name to our otherwise vibrant democracy. For example, during the last budget session, almost the whole of the second half was wasted because of pointless disruption from the political opposition, particularly the BJP. As a result, crucial bills could not be adequately discussed, and were either shot down without enough deliberation or were forcibly passed with very little thought having gone into them.

Evidently, the mantle of being the chief obstructionist in this session of Parliament, will be handed over from BJP to the Samajwadi Party, which is playing daredevil over the Durga Nagpal issue, threatening to derail the food security bill train, one of the UPA’s flagship project. While the BJP is taking the government to task over its non-existent Pakistan policy, in the wake of the fresh assault by the Pakistani army that killed five jawans of the border security force patrolling the line of control, it is, however, steering clear from stalling the house, a welcome change in its countering tactics. Moreover, the BJP also needs to get its act together as far as floor coordination in the house is concerned, since its own tally of allies is not yet clear. 

While major topics of discussion in the monsoon session would certainly be the Uttarakhand disaster, food bill, the FDI hikes, inflation, economic slump and the weakening currency, the BJP is taking it easy and enjoying firstly the gladiatorial battle between the Congress and the SP over the suspension of the IAS officer Durga Nagpal, and secondly, the mushrooming of demands for separate states such as those for Gorkhaland, Bodoland, Vidarbha among others. Nevertheless, the political classes, particularly the elected members of Parliament, must keep aside their differences, and make the grievances heard only through democratic means, without acting as stumbling blocks for the functioning of the upper and lower houses.   

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