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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014
No debate: how MPs have brought Parliament to new low
Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 14, 2014
First Published: 00:24 IST(14/2/2014)
Last Updated: 09:21 IST(14/2/2014)
An unidentified MP affected by pepper gas sprayed by suspended Congress MP L Rajagopal during presentation of Telangana Bill in the Lok Sabha, comes out of Parliament House in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Every day brings with it new surprises as far as our parliamentarians go. And they are rarely pleasant ones.

We are used to the usual shindigs in Parliament, we have studied ad nauseam how much of the taxpayers’ money goes down the drain while our worthies shout each other down and bring the august house to a standstill.

We have observed how crucial Bills fall by the wayside as our elected representatives engage in meaningless hostilities.

We have seen how they find it so very difficult to rise above petty differences and work for the people whom they are meant to represent and whose votes they seek come election time.

They seem to care little that there is increasingly a sense of deep disillusionment with the very process of parliamentary democracy or at least the way it is being run at the moment.

But none of this quite prepared people for the latest spectacle in the Lok Sabha when a Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh, exercised over the Telangana issue, produced a can of pepper spray which he inadvertently seems to have used on himself following which he had to be taken to hospital.

Read: MPs behaviour in LS over Telangana dissaproved by majority: HT poll

Read: L Rajagopal sprays pepper in LS over Telangana bill, Twitter stings him

Not to be outdone, a Telugu Desam Party MP broke a mike and in the bedlam, the Telangana Bill was sought to be snatched from the Union home minister’s hands.

The Telangana issue is no doubt a highly emotional one. But Parliament is a forum for debate and discussion, not for unseemly and violent brawls.

The sort of conduct we have seen shows that our MPs have no respect or consideration for the people who have elected them to their high office. If they have differences, they are free to raise them in Parliament.

Most of them don’t do any homework on the issues they take up and instead resort to mindless shouting and violence. This revolting spectacle has led many to wonder whether we need such representation at all.

Read: Congress favours strictest punishment for Rajagopal

Read: Cong MP Rajagopal is a hero in Seemandhra for pepper spray act

This is very dangerous for our democracy. Unless the institutions of democracy, the highest being Parliament, are nurtured, we could quite possibly see a slide into anarchy.

Though 16 MPs have been suspended, systems have to be put in place to ensure that each MP contributes his mite to the House and those who disrupt it needlessly must pay a price.

It is not enough to enjoy the perks and privileges of office and give the people nothing in return but a shocking display of vulgar antics. We are proud of our democracy.

In fact, India is often taken as an example of a diverse nation held together by the glue of democracy. But at this rate, we are in serious danger of coming unstuck.

Read: MP, who used pepper spray in LS, once moved a bill to curb unruly behaviour

Read: Suspend MPs disrupting Parliament: Digvijaya Singh

Read: Pepper spray leaves stain on Indian democracy: MPs

Read: Govt was warned of trouble, but pepper spray sprang a surprise

Full coverage on Telangana


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