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When the disciplined Parliament stunned me

By Biplob Ghosal | Last Updated: Monday, May 14, 2012 - 09:09
Biplob Ghosal
Loud and Clear

A quiet Parliament is certainly the last thing we Indians expect. As a recent TV advertisement says – Shor na machaya to maza nahi aaya (If you don't shout, it's no fun). So the way our Parliamentarians behaved on May 13 to mark the 60th anniversary of Parliament left me, hopingly many others too, stunned.

No kidding, but I felt like respecting them from the bottom of my heart. But before I could stir patriotic feelings further, a thought crossed my mind. Will the 61st year put an end to all the fun – shouting, ruckus, drama – which have come to be part of Parliament proceedings, which are watched by all the sections of our society.

Okay. Now here's a brief account of what happened on Sunday.

On the second Sunday of May 2012, our MPs were sitting and listening to each other patiently, heaping praises on seniors and colleagues, letting each other speak without disruption, and praising members belonging to rival political parties; it certainly was a moment to watch.

Besides Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, political stalwarts such as LK Advani, Arun Jaitley, Sonia Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury, Pranab Mukherjee spoke at length on various issues. At a time when Advani said the biggest achievement has been that India has become a great and successful democracy (conditions apply), Pranab Mukherjee described the Lok Sabha as a "great shock absorber" and said the house had been able to resolve many disputes and tensions.

Shock absorber? Are you sure Pranab da? Anyway, you hold a good chance of becoming the first citizen of India, so how could you be wrong (even when Sonia Gandhi depends upon you)?

These days, huge amount of time is lost by Parliament due to disruptions. Many important bills are put on the back burner. This grave issue was highlighted by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury who said 100 sittings per year should be made mandatory for MPs. The idea seems noble; hope it gets implemented.

It was unusual to witness such a gentle atmosphere as it is seldom that our elected members act in such a dignified manner. We have been witnessing unruly scenes not only in Parliament but in state assemblies as well. Remember the incident when Jayalalithaa was attacked by DMK MLAs in the Tamil Nadu assembly, the chairs throwing incident in Maharashtra assembly and the biggest of them all is when bundle of notes were waived in the Indian Parliament by BJP MPs claiming they were being bribed by Congress.

After all that, it was very hard to digest that things have changed – even for one day- but seeing is believing.

While MPs were concerned about various issues, RJD chief Lalu Prasad raised the issue of Lokpal bill, saying that "In the name of Lokpal, a move is on to destroy the country and Parliament, which is the lawmaking body. They are using the language of gheraoing the MPs...They are calling us thieves and dacoits."

I do agree with Mr Yadav that some of the Team Anna members have in the recent past used derogatory language, which shouldn’t have been used. But he should also remember that a huge percentage of elected members sitting in Parliament have criminal background which needs to be addressed. So rather than attacking the Lokpal movement, the honourable minister should try to change the electoral system, which would bar many of his colleagues from contesting elections. By giving such statements, he is just sending a message that he is afraid of such a bill, which ensures scrutiny on the conduct of MPs in the House.

Issues like corruption and ineffective and slow implementation of reforms are pulling the country down. And if the ‘masters of democracy’ will not ensure that sanctity of the temple of democracy remains intact, they do not have the right to ‘teach’ us or ‘rule’ us. It’s high time that our elected ones need to introspect and think for the betterment of the society rather than just focus on retaining or winning the chair for five years.

Anyway, Sunday was indeed a good day for the country as it was sans regular news of disruption and for journalists like me who are tired of writing the same news of ruckus every day.

As I wind up my article, I still ponder was it the effect of the milestone (here the 60th anniversary) that usually makes Indians humble (remember Sachin is still so humble after scoring 100th ton that he does not want to retire) or the Mother’s Day that made our netas the "mama’s good boys". Whatever…

First Published: Monday, May 14, 2012 - 09:09

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