Since the Parliament of India adjourned sine die (which is a somewhat quaint Latin expression meaning: without a fixed date to meet again) it is time for Indians to say: No more engineered or spur of the moment disruptions of their Parliament; it is time to say enough is enough. Over the years, most parties have taken turns in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to shut down Parliament and therefore the business of the people of India that MPs are elected to conduct.
I am always flabbergasted at the disruptions happening on the floors of Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. I have watched with keen interest India striving for its long-awaited tryst with a better, more prosperous, peaceful and inclusive future for all Indians. Indians aren’t interested in why and what grievance is ending up in the repeated adjournments and shutdown of either house of Parliament in India.
They could understand if some Hitler had Gestapo standing guard in the house and forcing members of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha to vote to curtail the basic freedoms in the country in total subversion of the expansive constitution of India; or if some new Indira Gandhi’s emergency was riding rough shod over their liberties.
Clearly that wasn’t happening when the BJP and the rest of the opposition shut down Parliament under UPA. And it wasn’t happening in days just gone by when Sonia’s MPs repeatedly shut down Rajya Sabha. Whatever differences one may have with Modi or objections to his handling of the tolerance/intolerance or other issues, he has not been undemocratic in Parliament. MPs may disagree with his policies and peacefully agitate outside parliament and vigorously debate them from their seats inside it. But shutting down parliament makes a mockery of the serious work MPs are sent to do in Delhi.
To not do peoples’ work in Parliament and obstruct it to distract the public’s attention from other goings on either in the courts or elsewhere in the country is highly irresponsible. As I said in shutting down Parliament no major party has been without blame; none can claim to have behaved much differently from the current Congress. The BJP did the same in the dying sessions of UPAII. And it was quite obvious the recent shutdowns of the Rajya Sabha by Congress weren’t motivated by any desire to push for any legislation or policy changes; and by the way even that should be unacceptable.
The shuttering was purely a ploy – regardless of what the supporters of Sonia/Rahul may say – to register feigned anger over the fate of the National Herald/ Subramanium Swamy shenanigans. Sonia and Rahul are free to maintain before the courts or in the public square that Swamy is acting at BJP’s behest. He may or may not be. BJP is free to claim Swamy a loose cannon and on his own. Be that as it may, nobody – and I mean nobody – has any business to shut down people’s business in the houses of parliament over private legal tangles or any policy differences.
I have met leaders of various political parties of India and asked them the rationale for the disruptions and shuttering of parliament. It is India’s political culture, goes the answer. Culture or not, it must stop. It is easy to stop. In my almost 17 years as an elected representative in British Columbia(MLA) and Canada(MP) I never saw an MLA or an MP go into the well of the house to challenge the speaker or to disrupt.Once the speaker is elected, his/her is the unchallenged authority to preside over often vigorous debates. MPs are all elected to and are hopefully interested in doing people’s business. If so, they can make rules to never disrupt the house. It is all within their own power to conduct themselves constructively in the service of the people.
Once the speaker is elected, his/her is the unchallenged authority to preside over often vigorous debates. MPs are all elected to and are hopefully interested in doing people’s business. If so, they can make rules to never disrupt the house. It is all within their own power to conduct themselves constructively in the service of the people.
As I said if some Indian Hitler’s Gestapo was at the gates of parliament to rob India of its liberties or some modern Indira Gandhi’s manufactured emergency threatened India’s freedoms, I could understand what just transpired – the repeated shut downs of Rajya Sabha. Otherwise forcibly shutting down Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha is a heinous crime against the people of India.