No one, but no one, seems to be coming out of this Parliament session smelling of roses so far. The government certainly has much to answer for given its unacceptable conduct over the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on the coal scam for which it has been pilloried by the Supreme Court.
And the Opposition is quite justified in asking the government to come clean on this and affix accountability. While the government’s conduct leaves very much to be desired, the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj has perhaps raised temperatures a little unnecessarily by alleging that the UPA chairperson had instigated her ministers to disrupt her speech.
She has also been less than fair to suggest that since the Speaker cut her short, the BJP would not attend meetings called by either Meira Kumar or the parliamentary affairs minister. No doubt, these are political scores which are being sought to be settled. But everyone seems to forget that their primary job is to be accountable to the people who have put them in Parliament.
While political tempers run high, Parliament is unable to push ahead with many pending legislations. Differences of opinion have to be discussed and resolved and Parliament cannot be held hostage to this. This session of Parliament has been particularly unproductive.
As elections draw near, one would have expected that both the government and Opposition would be eager to demonstrate how effective they have been in getting legislation which will have a far-reaching effect on the lives of people through.
During the earlier civil society movements, we saw how disenchanted people had become with the political process. Fortunately, this did serve as a wake-up call and politicians from all parties began to function in a more accountable manner for while. But now we see that once again, they seem to have few qualms about wasting the taxpayers’ money in unproductive squabbles. The government must make every effort to get the Opposition on board while there is still a little time left in this session. And the Opposition must be a little more receptive to any overtures.
With the amount of work pending, it seems unlikely that it will all be done before the country goes in for the next general elections. Both sides must realise that they will be judged on how they have carried out the people’s mandate in Parliament. This alone should serve to make them get down to their work. The current crisis certainly does not make for good political strategy and even less for accountability to the people.