IT WAS a reunion that moistened most eyes, provided the perfect platform to relive memories of days gone by and bask in the warmth of the felicitation ceremony held for them. The former MLAs assembled at the CMS Degree College, Kanpur Road, felt elated with the honour bestowed on them on Wednesday.
There was much hugging and backslapping, asking after the well being of families, and a time to complain, for forgetting an old friend.
Cutting across party lines, heavyweights of yesteryears expressed concern at degrading House ethics and the behaviour of MLAs and MPs.
Bhuvnesh Bhushan Sharma of Jansangh who was elected from a constituency in Etawah from 1957 to 79 says, “We were in the opposition but never did a ruling party MLA try to browbeat us in the House. The debates were very heated but never did any one get personal or physical. Today, look at the ruling party MLAs.
They don’t allow anyone to speak against them. No one wants to hear anything against his party or leader. There was a time when criticism was welcomed but now no one can imagine that happening.”
“In those days, we had leaders like Dr Sampurnananda, Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, Govind Ballabh Pant, CB Gupta, ND Tiwari, Kamlapati Tripathi in the ruling party but never in my lifetime did I hear or see these leaders offend anyone by their action or words. Instead, they welcomed criticism,” he added.
Ram Dulare Kureel represented Bachrawan constituency from Rae Bareli on a Congress ticket in 1967, 1969 and 1974. He also won in the anti-Congress wave in 1977 and 1980. Ram Dulare says, “I recently watched JD(U) MP Prabhunath Singh being threatened and abused in the House by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and his brother-in-law, Sadhu Yadav. The language used by Prabhunath in retaliation was also not gentlemanly. This shows the changing values and the kind of people being sent to the House. In democracy, the fortune of the public is written by the public themselves, and if their selection is not correct, then this is what they get.”
He also remembers the shameful incident in the Vidhan Sabha when mikes were used as missiles and batons between SP, BSP and BJP MLAs. “This is what happens if shady elements are allowed to sit inside the House, which writes the destiny of our people. Now, even history-sheeters are sitting in the House. No one dare to speak against them,” he said.
Chaudhary Rampal Singh represented Derapur Kanpur Dehat from 1969 to 1977 on Samyukt Socialist Party ticket says, “I have always defeated a Congress candidate in elections but on a personal note, we had family-like relations with them. There were no criminals to fight against, the money was lesser, and politics meant serving people. Never in my life did I think of living so lavishly like present politicians live. It’s a shame that some MLAs are still in jail on the charges of murder and inciting riots. Everyone has a narrow and vested vision. No one puts the state and country first.”
The former MLAs also expressed concern about the rising influence of criminals over present politicians, insecure atmosphere for women in politics and people taking to politics as a profession, not to serve the deprived.
“Today the definition of an MLA has changed. Now parties are selling tickets and that’s why criminals are purchasing them and winning elections, hence, degrading House values. In fact, the House is becoming a platform for the mafiosi to come out of the police lock-up and get legal reprieve in criminal cases,” said former MLA of Sadabad Musdemand Ali Khan alias Chabi Mian.