Be that as it may, it is a worrisome and ponderous situation that there is no consensus among parties and opposition, on what topic should be discussed when and how? Lokmanya Tilak was of the view that the sign of a living nation is that all parties forget their differences and unite for a specific task.
The Monsoon session of Parliament is witnessing a lot of uproar, the lack of concrete work or meaningful debate on issues of national importance is a serious question mark on the role of the opposition. It continues to be a major weakness of Indian democracy that instead of surrounding the government on important and national issues, agitations are created in an attempt to humiliate, weaken and cloud its functioning. Nowadays, it has become customary that parliamentarians can only bring to the attention of the government by making a fuss, which concerns them or their party. What is surprising is that they are wasting the precious time of the Parliament by taking the path of noisy Parliament when there are so many options in front of them. There are so many weapons in the Parliamentary Manual that there should be no need for noise. What then is the justification for adopting the method of obstructing the proceedings of the House? Several Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs have been suspended due to the ruckus during the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament. The simultaneous suspension of 19 members of the Rajya Sabha for a whole week is the highest number of members suspended simultaneously in the House. Thus, the suspension of MPs only shows their incompetence and ineptitude.
The political uproar in Parliament has intensified over the debate over inflation and the imposition of Goods and Services Tax (GST) on essential commodities. The opposition which was earlier creating a ruckus with demands to discuss Agneepath scheme, inflation, GST etc. can now disrupt the proceedings of both houses as its members have been suspended for creating ruckus? Be that as it may, it is a worrisome and ponderous situation that there is no consensus among parties and opposition, on what topic should be discussed when and how? Lokmanya Tilak’s point was that the sign of a living nation is that all parties forget their differences and unite for a specific task. But with the decline of politics, democratic values have stagnated, party heads and the nation have become subordinate to parliamentarians. Due to these conditions the environment of the country is polluted, sesame is turned into palm without any reason. Due to which the environment of the country becomes toxic and confusing.
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Certainly, the imposition of GST on many items of subsistence has increased the hardships of the people. Clearly, inflation is an issue – not just in India, but across the world. The issue should also be discussed in Parliament, but the opposition trying to say that the government is deliberately increasing inflation is nothing more than slogan politics. It is the bankruptcy of the opposition’s thinking, a useless weapon to besiege the government. Opposition parties and their MPs should criticize and debate with reasonable logic and reality. The rise in inflation in India is due to the Russia-Ukraine war and the resulting international economic factors, which cannot be ignored. Unfortunately the opposition is ignoring those reasons, while also trying to create an atmosphere that inflation is rising only in India. The opposition was also apprehensive of the fact that the recent decision to bring various products and services under the ambit of GST was approved by the GST Council, which also includes finance ministers from opposition-ruled states. All decisions in this council are taken by consensus. When the decisions were being taken in the GST Council, did the finance ministers of the opposition-ruled states not understand that this would make some products more expensive? The question is also whether the opposition wants the Indian government to ignore the circumstances that led to the bankruptcy of Sri Lanka and several other countries heading towards bankruptcy? Undoubtedly, the opposition has the right to speak in the Parliament, but if it creates a ruckus only under the guise of this right, it will do neither it nor the country any good, because the general public knows very well what the economic condition of the country and the world is?
Voices of opposition MPs are being heard in the corridors of Parliament saying that they are not allowing Parliament to function due to the government’s arbitrariness. This is not logical at all. Leaders as MPs today have many means by which they can arbitrarily stop the government from taking any decision. The most important thing is the question hour itself. The first hour of the proceedings of the House is known as question period and all kinds of questions can be asked in it. Supplementary questions can be asked to the minister, every member can seek clarification on any question and the government has very few options to provide round the clock answers. Apart from the oral questions there are many questions which are answered in writing by the government. If nothing is clear in the written reply from the Government, the Member has the right to give notice under Rule 55 for half an hour’s debate. The opposition is also open to stop the work to check the government’s intentions. After a debate on this motion, a vote is taken and if it is passed, it is considered as a censure motion against the government, governments want to avoid motion to stop work, so there are many obstacles in its way. Obviously, Members of Parliament have many avenues available to make the government work in the public interest and national interest. But even then, when the representatives of the more than one billion and forty crore population of this country raise their voice and give priority to their duty, there is disappointment. Such situations raise questions on the credibility of MPs.
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In a meaningful debate on inflation and GST, opposition MPs have lashed out at the government’s investigative agencies’ crackdown on corruption. Stealth is an over-the-scenes situation. Hence, after suspending four Congress members from the Lok Sabha on Monday, the government on Tuesday suspended 19 members of the opposition from the entire week’s proceedings by bringing a resolution in the House on charges of unrest in the state. Defilement of meeting and sitting. All these members will not be able to participate in the proceedings of the House till Friday. Leaders of Congress, AAP, RJD, CPI(M) and other opposition parties allege that the government is misusing central investigative agencies to target the opposition. Opposition leaders said that the law is the law and it should be implemented without any bias or fear. But it cannot be misused as it is being done now. But even the prominent leaders of opposition parties have to think that corruption is corruption. It will be a failure of the government to see corruption happening like this. If such action is taking place without any reason then opposition forces should be active. Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap said that not allowing the House to run smoothly is an injustice to the country. Therefore, action of suspension is the appropriate step. But how can we expect good farming, dynamism of democratic values from the seeds that are being sown now?
(The writer is a senior journalist and columnist)