Eroding democratic process

As the shadow of corruption is getting larger after each passing day, Indian democracy is facing unprecedented crisis. This crisis seems to be deeper than what we witnessed during Emergency of 1970s. At that time, there was a majority government in Delhi and the opposition was very week in the Parliament. But today, numerically speaking, opposition is in majority in the both Houses of our Parliament. After the exit of AITMC led by Mamata Banerjee and DMK led by M Karunanidhi, the ruling alliance has reduced to minority even in Lok Sabha. We have a minority government and the Opposition is in majority, but still it cannot dethrone the government even after dubbing the present government as the most corrupt government of India in post independent era. The Opposition cannot cause this government to fall and it does not want it to function, the casualty is the session of Parliament, which has been stalled continuously.

The Opposition was more effective during the tenure of Rajiv Gandhi. At that time Congress had over 415 MPs in Lok Sabha and the opposition was very weak. There was no leader of Opposition in the lower House, because no opposition party could get 10 per cent seats of the Lok Sabha. Then only a couple of cases of corruption had emerged on the political scene of India. First one was the corruption in the purchase of HDW submarines and another was in the purchase of Bofors Guns. The amount involved was not much. Even then the opposition was able to corner the government and there was wide scale movement against the government. The opposition did not have number, so it decided to resign en masse and it did that. Ultimately the government of Rajiv Gandhi was dethroned in the battles of ballots.

Now the opposition has number to vote out the government in Lok Sabha. It has number even in the various Parliamentary Committees to nail the government. There are many incidents of corruptions, which have surfaced one after another. The number of corruption cases has become so large that it is difficult to list them all in one write up. Constitutional institutions like CAG are bringing them in light and Judiciary is being approached by some vigilant citizens. Media are also playing their role in a proactive manner to highlight the corruption cases and educate the people about them. There has been strong resentment against the corruption,

But what we are lacking is the effective opposition. Despite their number, they cannot contain the government. What they can do is to raise demand of resignation of Ministers and also the Prime Minister, but they cannot go beyond that. They cannot even move a no confidence motion against the government, because they are over sure that they cannot topple this government by voting. Their failure to vote out the government in a no confidence motion will only strengthen the government and weaken them in the eyes of the people. That is why what they can do is to disrupt the proceedings of the Parliament and keep on asking the skull of the government. The political scene is obviously very depressing. On the issue of corruption, if the opposition is not capable in checking the government, the reason is very simple. The reason is opposition, too, is not above the corruption. There are corrupt leaders in opposition too and they are facing CBI enquiry in many cases. It is a common knowledge that the Central Government is using CBI to get the support of these corruption tainted regional leaders. The opposition is accusing the Central Government of misusing CBI to remain in power, but the question arises is why the Government is able to do this. CBI was always a part of the Government and under some Ministry or the other. Why CBI was not used against them during 1980s, when they were launching movement against the government?

If the central government is using the CBI, the opposition leaders tainted with corruption themselves are to be blamed. Leaders of three regional parties are facing CBI probe. Mayawati of BSP, Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad Yadav of RJD are facing allegations of corruption charges. They are alleged to have accumulated properties disproportionate to their sources of known Income. Lalu Yadav had been jailed many times in the past in cases related to fodder scam. Because of their involvement in their alleged corruption, they cannot afford to vote against the government, because the government is saving them from the probe. In fact government is not misusing the CBI against them; what it is doing is not to use the agency against them in the probe. In other words, they are being protected by the government from CBI and for that protection, they are supporting the government from outside. The number of their MPs in Lok Sabha is 46 and it gives the minority government an edge in the Lok Sabha.

It is clear that the government has made the corruption of some opposition leaders as a shield against their attack on it over corruption charges. Corruption of opposition is a boon for the government, which itself is facing corruption charges. In this way, corruption is not allowing the normal democratic process of our country, because it has infected both sides of out political establishment. Even the main opposition is not free from the ills of corruptions. Its former President Nitin Gadkari could not get second term because of corruption charges leveled against him. Corruption among opposition gives added confidence to the government facing the charge of corruption.

With democratic process failing, the attention of people is now on Judiciary. The meddling of the Central government in the Supreme Court monitored probe in Coal Scam has in disturbed the Court and the government is finding itself in new trouble. Stepping of judiciary, where democratic political process fails to deliver is not a good thing for the health of democracy. Political questions should be solved politically, but if there is no political solution, the judiciary has to play its role. We have seen this kind of scene in our neighboring country. Now we will witness in our own country too. Our democratic polity is paying the price of corruption. (IPA )
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