FAILED OPPOSITION - II

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 24 Mar 2018 10:21:54


 One does not know what the possible outcome of Union Minister Mr. Vijay Goel’s effort to reach out to the Opposition parties would be. No matter that, one does tend to compliment the Government to decide in favour of such a reaching out. It also demonstrates another ugly reality -- that Opposition parties have failed themselves again and again in the past four years.

 

New Delhi, March 22 (PTI): Union Minister Vijay Goel, on Thursday, met Opposition leaders including Leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, at their respective residences in an effort to break the logjam in Parliament, which has been paralysed for 14 days due to protests by various parties.  Goel’s meeting with Azad and Y. Maitreyan, AIADMK leader in the Upper House, came after he asserted at a press conference that the Government was willing for a discussion on No-Confidence motions against it as it has a strong majority in the Lok Sabha. He added, he would meet key Opposition leaders, including those from TDP, TRS, and TMC, to persuade them to call off their protests in Parliament. ...

WHEN the world was asleep but India woke up in freedom at the stroke of mid-night hour on August 15, 1947, Prime Minister Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru had assured the world of an emerging nation becoming a good symbol of a mature democracy. However, when a Union Minister starts his campaign of meeting Opposition leaders to persuade them to stop their protests and help the Government re-start the parliamentary process, he is only highlighting how a malfunction has crept into the system and how Opposition parties are acting as roadblocks in the smooth democratic journey of the Indian nation.

In fact, the Government need not bother. For, the continued Opposition protests for the past 14 days of Parliament’s session has helped it push through a lot of work amid din and chaos. So beneficial do the protests seem that they even did not allow No-Confidence motions, too, to come up against the Government. Yet, the Government has ventured out to convince the Opposition about the need to let the parliamentary process start flowing again.

This is certainly a great act of goodwill, and the Government must be complimented for the step. All over the world, parliamentary process has been dotted with debates and disagreements and protests and walk-outs. Yet, the most remarkable quality of all those activities is that all parties agree to disagree and still continue to work together. What is in witness for the present is exactly the opposite of that process. The Opposition protests are not allowing even disagreement to come up effectively as the protests stall efforts of other parties to push parliamentary process in the right direction. So thoughtless are the current Opposition protests that the nation has lost the reason why they are being pushed so vehemently.

There were times when the Congress party was very strong numerically and politically, and the Opposition was just a small bunch of people who could do nothing to budge the Government. Yet, stalwarts in Opposition parties could make things difficult for the ruling party, not through such endless protests, but through intelligent argument that often made the Government think twice about what it planned to do or achieve. So good was the quality of debates in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha that the ruling party had to sit up and take appropriate notice of the Opposition argument.

Over time, the quality of parliamentary debates has gone down considerably. But worse is the current practice of protests by Opposition to stall the proceedings of the House. This practice runs counter to the spirit of Parliament and destroys the very core value of democracy. The current protests by Opposition seem to be in that category. It appears that the Opposition parties are less interested in reasoned argument on issues, and more interested in stalling the parliamentary process somehow. It is because of this reason that the Government thought it proper to send out a Minister to talk to Opposition.

It is a matter of shame, however, that the Opposition parties have stopped thinking logically in favour of smooth flow of parliamentary process. It must be stated even at the cost of repetition that the Opposition parties are aware that they do not have many solid points at which they can nail the Government down. Or, in order to conceal that shortcoming, they seem to be interested in somehow stalling the proceedings by senseless protests.

Even when the Government is willing to discuss every issue, including the one of No-Confidence motion, the Opposition parties seem interested in stalling the proceedings so that no debate takes place and their weaknesses are not exposed at all. This may appear a weird argument, but given the details of what is mostly happening in the Parliament in the past four years, the common people have come to the conclusion that the Opposition parties have developed wrong ideas about how Parliament should function.

Long back, when Pandit Nehru was Prime Minister, or later when his daughter Mrs. Indira Gandhi took over, they did not allow any compromise with the basic belief that Parliament was sacrosanct and its dignity could not be played with. Currently, their own Congress party -- as well as other Opposition parties -- seem to demonstrate that they have no faith in the basic creed of parliamentary democracy.

One does not know, therefore, what the possible outcome of Union Minister Mr. Vijay Goel’s effort to reach out to the Opposition parties would be. No matter that, one does tend to compliment the Government to decide in favour of such a reaching out. This very effort also demonstrates another ugly reality -- that Opposition parties have failed themselves again and again in the past four years. In the election year, this appears very sinful. For, they are losing precious opportunity to embarrass the Government.