common cause

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Dec 2017 11:47:22

FINALLY the Government and the Opposition broke the ice and sought the path of rapprochement. That is a very healthy thing to have happened. This signals realisatioin that there need not always be an acrimonious atmosphere between the two sides. They are not like the India-Pakistan warring sides. Both are committed to national issues, national concerns, national unity. There may be differences of perception on issues. But that is the integral part of democracy, which the nation as a whole has steadfastly safeguarded after founding-fathers charted the democratic course. 

The rapprochement between the Government and the Opposition arrived at on Wednesday should pave way for the smooth functioning of the Parliament, leading to sorting out of issues that are pending before the two august Houses for long and require the attention of members of Parliament from all sides. There are urgent issues that cannot be kept pending as they call for the indulgence of every member of the two Houses. The electorate has put greater responsibility on their shoulders as keepers of national concerns. Hence consensus on vital matters of national interest is key to the functioning of the Parliament.

However electioneering, of late, has unfortunately brought to fore the worst kind of mudslinging from both sides of the political spectrum and the nation is appalled at the depths to which this has gone down. The mutual acrimony during the Gujarat election was not what the nation had expected to happen. While there is no denying that each side enters the electoral arena to win and for that all kinds of gimmicks are used to score points over the opponents. However, civility demands that the electoral warriors should not cross the red line and ensure that the other’s dignity is not harmed and is respected.

During the Gujarat elections some unsavoury remarks were exchanged which were unbecoming of the positions of the respective leaders. Both sides went on accusing each other. It was a no holds barred attack. The Opposition parties tried to seize the opportunity to corner Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on his remarks against his predecessor Dr. Manmohan Singh in the Parliament. A whole week of business of the Parliament was drowned in the protest against the Prime Minister’s remark, leading to the Government ultimately coming out with a clarification that the Prime Minister had never questioned the commitment of Dr. Manmohan Singh to the nation. It would have been more dignified, more magnanimous if the Government would have come out with such a clarification much earlier and avoided the loss of precious time of the Parliament.

Nevertheless this is a good beginning for the coming year and the nation hopes that the spirit of give and take permeates the functioning of the Parliament so as to give out clear message to the entire political community that when it comes to discharging the duty as the custodians of the faith of the people there is no compromise. Such unanimity was shown by all sides of Parliament when they condemned in one voice the Pakistani humiliation of the wife and mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav. Such single-minded commitment is what the nation expects from the political community.

This also brings to the fore the issue of irresponsible and often provocative off-the-cuff statements made even by those who are occupying Constitutional offices. What is of concern is that such statements do not find any condemnation from higher-ups. Recently Union Minister Mr. Anant Kumar Hegde clearly showed his abhorrence for votaries of secular principles enshrined in the Constitution. He even talked of changing the Constitution. The Government cannot distance itself from such a stance.