Parliamentary proceedings have now become a routinely fractious affair, but this time events leading up to the session beginning today promise to make the going even more difficult. The latest development which has seen the ruling party and the Congress at loggerheads over the Arunachal Pradesh issue will definitely raise temperatures as will a host of other contentious issues. But these can be discussed and debated without holding up parliamentary work and crucial legislation. This unfortunately has not been the trend so far. Day after day, parliament has been adjourned as political differences turned into non-negotiable and bitter divisions. This time around, we can only hope that a great political maturity will be on display.
The issue of Kashmir and the crucial GST Bill among others need to be addressed. India does not have the luxury of being able to put these off until political bitterness and rancour subside. The business of Parliament must be conducted in the greater national good. Partisan politics simply cannot get in the way of this function as it has been for several sessions now. The common practice seems to be that if there are political differences, the aggrieved party almost takes it as an entitlement not to let the house function. This is of a piece with the US congress which has seen such bitter divisions as to stop any forward movement on governance. There are several mechanisms which exist within our system where legitimate grievances can be discussed. But the primary aim of the exercise should be to try and arrive at a common meeting point rather than adopt an intractable position. Whenever political parties have shown the resolve, much needed work has been transacted with great efficiency. In the last session, quite a lot of business was transacted. But such instances are becoming few and far between. Bills are often held up due to parties wanting to cater to their political constituencies, quite forgetting that once elected to Parliament, legislation aimed at improving governance should be of paramount consideration.
The public telecast of parliamentary proceedings which should logically have had a restraining effect on elected representatives has often worked to the contrary. Those indulging in disruptive antics often get their 15 minutes of fame, spurring many to be even more theatrical. This clearly suggests that there is little regard for those who put them in Parliament in the first place. It can only be hoped that the same sense of accommodation shown in some parts of the last session persists.