Parliament is shamed

And so is Congress. The ugly scenes in the House on Telangana mirrored the party’s failures of leadership.

Published:February 14, 2014 2:28 am

And so is Congress. The ugly scenes in the House on Telangana mirrored the party’s failures of leadership.

The august Lok Sabha turned into the arena for a brawl on Thursday, when the Telangana bill was tabled. Some dissent was expected from Seemandhra MPs, but nobody expected it to take the outrageous form it did, with expelled Congress MP from Vijayawada, L. Rajagopal, whipping out a can of pepper spray and firing it at fellow legislators.

Parliamentary privilege does not allow MPs to be frisked on entry, it is perhaps time to reconsider that immunity. MPs physically attacked each other in the well of the Lok Sabha, damaged microphones, broke glasses, and snatched the speaker’s papers. It was a sad day for Parliament.

It was also a dismal Congress versus Congress tableau. The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh was always going to be an acrimonious process. But its playing out as a raucous intra-party battle in the House mirrors the party’s slow-motion failure to provide judgement and leadership on the issue, at every step. The Congress cannot claim to have been taken by surprise — the political divisions on the issue were evident. Those from Telangana see statehood as the culmination of a struggle for selfhood as long as the history of independent India.

Those from Seemandhra resist the division with equal force — as a move that will affect commerce and livelihoods, access to water, power, the future of their capital. Political equations were also bound to be upset, and no one appeared to have as much to lose as Seemandhra politicians from the Congress. Yet the top Congress leadership failed to either anticipate and manage the escalation of tensions, or make the proposed partition as painless as possible by drawing in the two sides for a dialogue on questions of resource sharing.

Most of all, it failed to convey to its own party members that the decision on statehood was absolute. From the first moment of capitulation in 2009, and through the years of stalling since, the Congress has failed to impress upon its own members that it truly believes in Telangana. It did not explain the basis on which Telangana’s aspirations justified a separate state while other equally intense agitations for separate statehood are denied.

And having decided to go through with its decision, it did not immediately start working out the terms of separation. Till the end, Seemandhra MPs and MLAs led petitions to the Congress leadership, conveying to their constituents that things might still go their way. In all these years of dithering, the Congress looked like it wanted to play it both ways, until it abruptly sealed the deal on the brink of the general election. This implosion within its ranks now speaks of the Congress’s failure of political leadership.

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  1. C
    Communal Rukstales
    Feb 15, 2014 at 12:21 pm
    Parliament didn't fall from sky. It's a mirror reflection of your society/culture
    Reply
  2. G
    Guest
    Feb 14, 2014 at 4:40 am
    The MPs must be frisked at not only parliament but also at airports. Who knows some MP carries a gun next time in a plane.
    Reply
  3. G
    Guest
    Feb 14, 2014 at 4:40 am
    The MPs must be frisked at not only parliament but also at airports. Who knows some MP carries a gun next time in a plane.
    Reply
  4. S
    S. S.
    Feb 14, 2014 at 3:05 am
    This is another example of Congress Party's atude of chalta hai, or chhoti bath hai, with a cynical laugh or chuckle! If you look back at history, Mrs Indira hi also tried to play two factions of Punjabi Sikhs against each other. She also dilly-ed while the militants were piling lethal weapons at the Golden Temple, instead of taking immediate action to stop it. When finally she did act, it almost tore the Punjab apart.
    Reply
  5. S
    S. S.
    Feb 14, 2014 at 3:05 am
    This is another example of Congress Party's atude of chalta hai, or chhoti bath hai, with a cynical laugh or chuckle! If you look back at history, Mrs Indira hi also tried to play two factions of Punjabi Sikhs against each other. She also dilly-ed while the militants were piling lethal weapons at the Golden Temple, instead of taking immediate action to stop it. When finally she did act, it almost tore the Punjab apart.
    Reply
  6. P
    Prasad
    Feb 14, 2014 at 1:19 am
    Very well said. What is lost in all this, how the common man in Seemandhra feels. Almost all good educational insuitions are in Telangana---NIt, IIT, Sch. Of Business, Central Univ., BITS, IIIT so on-- There is not a single similar insute in Seemandhra. All IT companies are In telangana. All Central labs, industries are most of them in Hyderabad. AP govt poured state money to develop Hyderabad, its airport. Almost every family in Seemandhra sends its kids for jobs, education to Hyderabad. Farmers are worried about water as Telangana controls water ways. NGOs depend on state govt for pensions and ry. How could the central govt divide without giving anything to Seemandhra. Sonia hi and UPA have gone mad. They dont kow the feelings of Seemandhra. Most incompetent, heartless govt led by a weak, old PM controlled by Sonia hi who does not understand India and its civilization.
    Reply
  7. P
    Prasad
    Feb 14, 2014 at 1:19 am
    Very well said. What is lost in all this, how the common man in Seemandhra feels. Almost all good educational insuitions are in Telangana---NIt, IIT, Sch. Of Business, Central Univ., BITS, IIIT so on-- There is not a single similar insute in Seemandhra. All IT companies are In telangana. All Central labs, industries are most of them in Hyderabad. AP govt poured state money to develop Hyderabad, its airport. Almost every family in Seemandhra sends its kids for jobs, education to Hyderabad. Farmers are worried about water as Telangana controls water ways. NGOs depend on state govt for pensions and ry. How could the central govt divide without giving anything to Seemandhra. Sonia hi and UPA have gone mad. They dont kow the feelings of Seemandhra. Most incompetent, heartless govt led by a weak, old PM controlled by Sonia hi who does not understand India and its civilization.
    Reply
  8. V
    Venkat
    Feb 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm
    Congress just did it for a few seats before elections. How can a state be divided just before elections. If this is completed then every party will start to divide states for a few seats just before elections. It is high time the national media takes more interest to this issue that has been boiling for the last few months and has to realize that Telangana is much more developed than Andhra and the new state would be Andhra not Telangna.
    Reply
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