Opposition's role in parliamentary democracy

September 23, 2018
Opposition’s Role in Parliamentary Democracy

This refers to the report “No role in choice of offset partner: govt.” (The Hindu, September 23, 2018). This response is not about the ‘Rafale fighter deal’, though the immediate reference is to the controversy emanating from the reports about that deal. The sweeping remark “It is up to the Prime Minister of India to clear his name. We are absolutely convinced that the Prime Minister is corrupt” attributed to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and the counter from Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad which contains a direct personal attack on Rahul Gandhi do not make the common man wiser.
Rahul Gandhi, on his part, instead of getting on the job of the ‘opposition’, which is to expose the ‘corruption charges’ which he bases mainly on a statement made by former French President, leaves it again to the central government to form a ‘joint parliamentary committee’ to look into the matter. We are paying the price for having started the experiments with the parliamentary democratic system of governance post-independence without allowing a proactive and creative opposition to evolve.
We the people have been brainwashed to believe that the role of opposition in democracy, right from Parliament to Panchayats is to ‘oppose’ government and do the necessary homework and groundwork to topple whichever government is in position at any given time. Somewhere, someone has to cry a halt. When the whole of Kerala was flooded, there was some respite, when we observed government and opposition rising to the occasion and managing relief work with some commonsense.
We can’t afford floods or natural calamities or external threats every day to ensure that governance remains on right track and government and opposition remains on the same page, at least on major issues like defense, economic development and overall welfare of people. Political leadership has to rise to the occasion and evolve a common platform to preserve the dignity of the nation, keeping the broad guidance already available in the Indian Constitution.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


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