Get priorities right | Business Line

Get priorities right | Business Line


23, 2015
The HBL editorial “Get
Priorities right” and the piece “Mockery of democracy”-FROM THE VIEWSROOM-
today(July 23) could easily pass for a discussion paper on political management
in the present Indian context. One can only hope the political leadership takes
the analyses in right spirit. The report on disruption of Rajya Sabha
proceedings is all the more agonising, since by name itself that is the “Upper
House” and the conduct of members there should be exemplary so that legislators
down the line could learn lessons from them. In the present episode, even the
Congress Party cannot deny the fact that Prime Minister Modi and his government
have gone more than half way in appealing to the opposition to cooperate and
allow deliberations to happen.
parliamentary democracy in India started off with practically no opposition in
position. Dissenting voices within the Indian National Congress (INC), some
individual leaders whom even the INC could not accommodate or were branded
socialists or communists performed the role of opposition in parliament and
political arena. Later on the evolution of opposition in the states and at
national level was not on very healthy soil, as the formulation was dependent
on the ego of leaders or certain economic or geographical or linguistic
interests in regions.
The weak opposition which
made governments not much answerable in legislatures made political leadership
lazy and unconcerned about the ground realities. Even in states like Kerala
which claims near 100 per cent literacy, performance of legislators has become
a laughing matter and input for comic entertainment.
Whether as insignificant
as 3 :67 in Delhi or as strong as 68:72 as in Kerala or with a decisive
majority in Lok Sabha and in a minority in the upper house, time is running out
for the political leadership to re-invent the role of opposition. Opposition
need to do the same amount of studies and deliberations on issues concerning
governance within, as is expected of the treasury benches. The present strategy
of being selective on issues and effort to make noises and be dramatic ending
every episode with disruption of legislative process can do irreparable damage
to the system, put in place thanks to the sacrifice made by generations.
Perhaps, Prime Minister
Modi who changed his own designation as ‘Pradhaan Sevak” may have to invent
some new name for ‘Opposition”, as common man gets a feeling that though all
members of legislatures are elected to govern, those who do not find a place on
the Treasury Benches, or in the coalition which forms government call
themselves “Opposition” and start opposing every move of the government from
day one. The word opposition has something to do with this.
The AAP-LG confrontation
is not the making of Kejriwal or Modi. It is the result of one individual’s
refusal to take cognizance of the changes in Delhi during the last couple of
years. If he still doesn’t wake up to realities, central government is
duty-bound to help him come out of slumber and make the Lieutenant Governor
allow Kejriwal government to function within the political and constitutional
mandate. Sooner than later, relationship issues between the two governments
also should be resolved amicably through mutual consultations.

G Warrier
, Mumbai


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