‘New low for lawmakers’, this is phrase we have now got accustomed to seeing on television and newspapers. And our lawmakers never fail to live up to this description.
We had barely recovered from the shock of an MP using pepper spray in Parliament to protest the Telangana issue, when some of our elected representatives decided to engage in more unsavoury antics. In the Uttar Pradesh assembly, two Rashtriya Lok Dal MLAs took off their shirts to protest the violation of the rights of sugarcane farmers in western UP.
Clambering onto the tables, the two disrupted the governor’s address with their noisy shenanigans. Apart from the fact that the shirtless MLAs hardly made for a salubrious sight, surely there were more civilised ways to make their voices heard. In the J&K assembly, a marshal was repeated bashed on the head by a PDP MLA in order to protest the rescue of people stranded in snowbound areas.
Of course, not to be left behind, a TDP MP manhandled the secretary general of the Rajya Sabha and let loose a volley of what seemed to be abuse at the chairman of the august house.
We have often lamented about what ridiculous figures our MPs and MLAs cut to the world. But the more damaging thing is that they are not achieving any of the goals that they were elected to do. It is hardly likely that the UP government is going to address the problems of sugarcane farmers just because some MLAs wanted their 15 minutes of fame.
Almost always, the offender is playing to the galleries in his or her constituency. These shows of aggression and exhibitionism are aimed at showing the voters in the constituency that the elected representatives are safeguarding their interests. But, in the process, such people forget that there is a certain decorum and decency expected of them in legislatures and Parliament and that these are not forums for street-corner brawls and displays of vulgarity.
Democracy is all about discussion and debate which entails a certain amount of knowledge of the subject. In the absence of such knowledge, our elected representatives resort to lung power, or worse physical violence. Little wonder that people are losing faith in democracy as it is being practised at present.
There is little doubt that there have to be punitive measures against those who violate the sanctity of Parliament and the legislatures. The conduct of our MPs and MLAs are so shameful that they should not be in a position to frame laws which govern the people. Each time we think that they cannot sink any longer, they unerringly prove us wrong.