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It's really not helping anyone

Instead of disrupting Parliament, the BJP should corner the UPA through debate.

india Updated: Aug 24, 2012 20:46 IST

If we had hoped that public dissatisfaction would force the monsoon session of Parliament to be productive, we were completely off the mark. The BJP has taken what can only be described as a very negative position with threats of pulling out from all House panels. It has also refused to allow any proceedings including question hour to get underway forcing the House to adjourn repeatedly.

It is no one’s contention that the principal Opposition should not demand accountability from the government especially when there are allegations of huge waste of taxpayers’ money. But to pitch it to the level of seeking the prime minister’s resignation over the coal block allocation issue is counterproductive and has succeeded in getting the government’s hackles up.

With an aggressive Congress and the BJP at each other’s throats, it seems unlikely that any of the major pending legislations will be debated any time soon. Irrespective of the government’s culpability or otherwise, the BJP should take up the Congress’s offer to debate all these contentious issues in Parliament. This sort of stonewalling is not helping anyone, least of all the image of our political class. It is hard to understand what the BJP hopes to gain by this. If it is trying to force an early election, this move could boomerang on it. First, the public does not seem in any mood to have an election thrust on it.

Second, the BJP itself has not projected a very unified picture in recent times and should examine whether it is ready for an early election given what appears to be a leadership crisis within its ranks. But that apart, it should realise that while accusing the government of wasting public money, it is also doing the same by not allowing Parliament to function.

It is quite a while since we have seen our elected representatives doing what they have been chosen for — to frame legislation which is aimed at improving the quality of life of the people. A disenchantment with the political class which seems to have no tho-ught for the welfare of the people is what fuelled the initial outpouring of support for people like Anna Hazare.

It is dangerous for a democracy when people begin to lose faith in elected representatives. At the best of times, many of our MPs seem to come to the House without having done their homework. It is now a common feature to see the Speakers of both Houses trying to calm the restive politicians. After this session of Parliament, all parties are likely to go into election mode. This means that there will have been no meaningful debate for nearly two lengthy sessions. It would be better all around if the BJP can corner the government through reasoned debate than by not allowing parliamentary proceedings.

In this spate of allegations and counter-allegations, the people who have elected our politicians to this highest body of decision-making seem to be nowhere in the picture.