Source: The Hitavada      Date: 17 Mar 2018 10:53:28

There are many aspects of the Government’s functioning that can be questioned. Instead of grabbing the opportunity to do so, the Opposition is allowing those precious moments to pass. If this is not running away from responsibility in democracy -- to be a credible questioner of the actions of the establishment -- then, what is it?

New Delhi, March 14 (PTI): The Lok Sabha, on Wednesday, passed the crucial Finance Bill 2018 and Rs. 89.25 lakh crore spending plan for the next fiscal year without discussion amid ruckus, which led to the adjournment of both the Houses of Parliament for the eighth day. The Finance Bill and the Reappropriation Bill were passed in a matter of 25 minutes during which the Opposition parties and ruling NDA ally TDP shouted slogans and created a din. ...

l New Delhi, March 11 (PTI): Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, on Sunday, expressed concern over what he said was deterioration in the functioning of legislature, saying it was eroding the credibility of public representatives in the country. ...

THE nation is witnessing a very serious decline in the quality of representative democracy that it has often boasted to the world. Even as the world has often appreciated the massive success of India in management of the crucial and complex process of electing peoples’ representatives through universal franchise, the corresponding evolution of the democratic process particularly in elective Houses has remained rather questionable. This is in evidence in the crucial current budget session of Parliament.

Let us look at this one picture: the Opposition parties did not grab the opportunity to blast the Government for what they often describe as failures on multiple issues related to national economy, and allowed the crucial Finance and Reappropriation Bills to be passed without debate. There can be no better evidence of how the Opposition has played havoc with the credibility of the parliamentary system. Not only did it create ruckus in both Houses of Parliament but also lost an opportunity to blast the Government -- in this crucial election year -- thus wasting a good forum to their waywardness.

It is not without reason, therefore, that Vice President Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu grieved about a possible loss of credibility of elected representatives if they continue to subvert the legislative process in this manner. It is undeniably true that India’s Parliament or State legislatures have lost a lot of crucial time in ruckus over the past seventy-plus years due to wayward conduct of the elected representatives without much reason. But it is also true that on some of those occasions, the Opposition parties did have a substantial reason to take recourse to disturbing the legislative process in sheer helplessness.

In the current logjam imposed on Parliament by Opposition parties, there are no such substantial reasons. What the Opposition parties, and also some allies of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), are doing is to disrupt the proceedings with no reason. And by indulging in such a behaviour, the Opposition parties are losing precious opportunities to blast the Government on many of its failures. it must be admitted that the current conditions have offered the Opposition parties a lot of reasons to blast the Government on many genuine issues. Yet, they are purposely allowing those opportunities to pass. Why?It would be very interesting to find answers to this one-word question.

One of the foremost reasons for this conduct of the Opposition parties is that they really do not have genuine argument to beat down the Government or the ruling combine. If they really happen to raise a few issues, they are not sure if they would be able to argue well and defeat the Government at its own game. So, in order to avoid this possible faux pas, the Opposition parties have chosen to avoid debate altogether. And the best way to do so is to create ruckus and stall the proceedings though there are no substantial reasons to do so. This is nothing but a demonstration of how incompetent Opposition is.

Another reason is also political. The Opposition seems to make attempt to paint the Government as a massive failure because it is not allowing debate and discussion in Parliament, which is why it has to resort to disruption. In her naive and shallow answers to questions by a celebrated editor in a widely televised interview, Congress past President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi had alleged that the Opposition was resorting to disruption because the Government was not allowing discussion in Parliament. That thoughtless answer just stunned the nation no end. For, it was not just a wrong answer but it was a demonstration of her cantankerousness and senseless adamance. This attitude -- of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi -- is reflected in the collective disruption the Opposition is indulging in on the floors of the two Houses of Parliament. For days on end, it is not allowing any sensible discussion to take place. And it is at this point, the Opposition is exposing its own stupidity. For, it is losing opportunity after opportunity to draw the Government over the coals, tear its policies asunder, to show the nation how fake or hollow the Government’s claims are.

Though the Government is doing generally well, there are many aspects of its functioning that can be questioned and that must be questioned. Instead of grabbing the opportunity to do so, the Opposition is allowing those precious moments to pass. If this is not running away from its fundamental responsibility in democracy -- to be a credible questioner of the actions of the establishment -- then, what is it? A somewhat similar question was posed to Congress President Mr. Rahul Gandhi as well. To that poser, he had no credible answer. This picture speaks for itself and does not need much elaboration by any expert. The nation is witnessing the scenario when the Opposition is helping the Government to reassert its credibility the other way round.