AA Edit | Govt, Opp. must both ensure Parliament functions

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

“Only apology, no reply” seems to be the BJP’s demand

Members in the Lok Sabha during a Session of Parliament. (Photo: PTI)

With the meeting of the floor leaders called by the presiding officers of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday failing to come up with a solution to end the logjam, the current leg of the Budget Session of Parliament is in for a washout. While the ruling party has been demanding that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi apologise for the remarks he made about India’s democracy in a speech in Britain, the Opposition is willing to settle for nothing less than the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee to probe into the alleged malpractices of the Adani Group as revealed in the report of Hindenburg Research. No one is willing to budge.

While anyone who has a stake in the survival of democracy has a reason to be upset with the Parliament being reduced to a platform for parties to fight for their partisan, and parochial, agendas, what should worry them more is that, unlike on other occasions, it is the Treasury benches that are in the forefront of stalling the House proceedings. They have hardly noticed that the agenda for all these days has been marked as “government business” and instead go about their own business of disrupting the transaction of the same.

It is a fact that being on the government’s side does not rob the members of the right to protest on the floor of the House but what they have been doing of late is dictating terms in both Houses. Members of the ruling party, including ministers, raise serious allegations about an Opposition member but are unwilling to give the person a chance to present his side of the story. “Only apology, no reply” seems to be the BJP’s demand. In the Rajya Sabha, the BJP members even defied the direction of the Chairman and refused to allow Leader of the Opposition and Congress president Mallikarjuna Kharge to speak in the House. 

There are many theories as to why the BJP is taking recourse of such as an unprecedented action. One is that the Hindenburg report and its reactions have triggered serious discussions among the constituents of the BJP and that any further traction the report could gain will directly impact the party’s poll prospects in an election year. One cannot discount it completely, given the way the party has conducted itself in this session.

The Parliament best serves its purpose when the elected representatives discuss and debate affairs of the nation, and work as a beacon to direct the executive on taking the nation forward. It is the place where the government’s actions are subjected to intense scrutiny and where the ministers are made answerable to the functioning of the entire government machinery. It is the place where laws are made and budgets are passed, and the Comptroller and Auditor General reports on the way how every rupee is spent from the government exchequer. The Parliament should be allowed to reconvene to conduct such serious businesses, and the ruling party has more responsibility to ensure it than the Opposition.