Politicians should do the work they were elected for

  • Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 31, 2014 22:25 IST

We were bedazzled by the general elections, horror-struck by floods in Kashmir and infinitely saddened by the evil and violence of terror in the year gone by. Little wonder then that most people would want a bit of peace and quiet now. As the new year begins, there will be many wishes we want fulfilled. But primary would be for our politicians to do the work they were elected for.

That is to make laws and let Parliament function. During the last years of the UPA government, we saw constant obstructions in Parliament, walk-outs and most disturbingly our elected representatives substituting debate and discussion with yelling and shouting each other down. If we had hoped that things would change with a new government, we were wrong. The Opposition took the same easy route of invective and lung power to obscure all discussion and transaction of business in Parliament.

This led the government to push far-reaching legislation through ordinances while the very same Opposition shook its head in disapproval. But, to not let Parliament function has now become de rigueur. In fact, it has become like a noisy television talk show where everyone speaks at once, no one is interested in what the other is saying and in the end the viewer is left none the wiser on the issue under consideration.

No one quite expects Nehruvian oratory, but we do want to hear the merits and demerits of the different legislation under consideration. But, few can remember when last such a thing happened. What is also disturbing is how some elected representatives throw caution to the winds and use the most crass and unacceptable language.

This betrays not only a lack of respect for their position but also for the people who voted them to power. So, on top of our wish list would be for Parliament to go back to being a forum of meaningful debate. And for MPs not to get into a slanging match everyday resulting in a complete gridlock. Governance cannot be conducted in bits and pieces, it has to be a continuous and smooth process as far as possible.

The Opposition has to understand that it has an enormous responsibility to keep the government on its toes, not try and trip it up all the time. The government too has the duty to ensure that it keeps the Opposition on board. The game of one-upmanship has to end. Everyone elected to Parliament has a duty to get the levers of governance moving. This would make for a nice new year gift for the people, one that is long overdue.

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