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A shoot ’n scoot tactic by Opposition
When the opposition levels certain allegations and makes some accusations, it is the right of the government to defend itself. A leader should always have the patience to listen to the arguments of the other side, however sharp or harsh they might sound and react, accordingly, based on data and facts. The opposition knew that they do not have the numbers but used no-trust vote as a tool to push Modi into a corner. Hence, it should have been a power-packed debate and should have pushed the government to a corner. The conglomeration of unlike-minded political parties has once again wasted the time of the Lok Sabha and the taxpayers money
A poor strategy by the opposition parties resulted in their missing out on a good chance to ramp up pressure on Modi ahead of the general elections. The no-confidence motion should have signalled a broader attempt by the opposition parties to put the government in dock. The move of the opposition to stage a walkout midway while the Prime Minister was replying was an immature political act.
Some political commentators felt that the government “may evade” the motion by “engineering enough ruckus to force an early end to the monsoon session.” They even gave such statements to some foreign magazines. It did not happen but, on the other hand, after making serious charges against the government and sullying its image, the opposition members were not willing to face the consequences.
The ethnic tensions in the small state of Manipur with 3.2 million people were projected by the Congress leaders and some of the political commentators as a serious security and political failure by Modi’s government, hiding the fact that ethnic tensions have had a long history and the present situation is a legacy of the previous Congress governments. In fact, it was this fear of exposure which, perhaps, made the Congress party run away from the house halfway through the PM’s reply.
Certainly, the team I.N.D.I.A threw “no balls”. The Congress party leaders and even some commentators on various channels have been saying that for the first-half of Modi’s reply there was no mention of Manipur. Well, the no-confidence motion was not just about Manipur. The idea of the opposition was to make the PM speak and to that extent they succeeded. But in the process, the PM had given a list of earlier ethnic clashes and how the Congress government and its ministers were silent in Parliament.
The BJP has an alibi to claim that PM was silent because the opposition stalled the proceedings and did not come for a debate on Manipur. The Congress and their Darbaris would say that the PM refused to come forward with a statement – a practice that does not happen in any legislative body. Never did Indira Gandhi come forward to make any statement directly in her capacity as PM nor had any other PM done it. There are certain Parliamentary procedures to be followed.
Moreover, the Congress party leaders touched upon several other issues which do not relate to Manipur and asked many questions. If one goes through the history of no-confidence motions, the general practice is that the Leader of the House must give point-by-point reply to the issues raised by the opposition.
When the opposition levels certain allegations and makes some accusations, it is the right of the government to defend itself. A leader should always have the patience to listen to the arguments of the other side, however sharp or harsh they might sound and react, accordingly, based on data and facts.
In this case, a clear attempt to politicise the issue of Manipur was made by team I.N.D.I.A instead of cornering the government with proper data. The biggest mistake of the opposition was not to grab the first opportunity to discuss the Manipur issue when the government said it would take it up as a short duration discussion. The opposition very well knows that the Prime Minister generally does not make a statement on any subject. It is the minister concerned who does it and the PM can intervene or reply to the discussion at the end.
Even when they walked out, they were just looking frustrated or disturbed and had no explanation as to why they walked out of the Lok Sabha. When media asked Sonia Gandhi, she said my party will speak and left the place. In such occasions, instant reactions should be given by the leaders who led the walk out so that their viewpoint reaches the people of the country.
A leader should not only be a critic of the highest order based on facts and data but should also have the patience to hear what the other side says and either confront or get convinced. But the opposition on Wednesday gave an impression that they were not open to any criticism.
When the Atal Behari Vajpayee faced the no-confidence motion and his government had to go after 13 days, the discussion on no-confidence went on for three days and then he gave his reply and announced that he was going to Rashtrapati Bhavan to submit his resignation.
In this case, the opposition knew that they do not have the numbers but used this as a tool to force Modi to speak. Hence, it should have been a power-packed debate and should have pushed the government to a corner. If that had happened, their stock in the electoral market would have gone up.
The opposition should have waited till the end of the PMs speech and bombarded the opposition seeking clarifications, should have pressed for a division and after losing the no confidence motion they could have come out and criticised the government. But they just threw up their arms and ran away from the battlefield.
What did the opposition expect from an orator like Modi? Did they think he will remain a Mouni Baba after all the drama they enacted in the Parliament during the three-day discussion of no-confidence? If they did not know that he would be searing and unsparing then it only shows the political bankruptcy on the part of the team 26.
But the way opposition behaved since day one of the Monsoon session it appeared that they were never in a mood to discuss the Manipur issue threadbare. It is really unfortunate that the conglomeration of unlike-minded political parties had once again wasted the time of the Lok Sabha and the taxpayers money.
Why do people elect the MPs? It is because they want their representatives to talk in Parliament about the issues of his or her constituency and see that necessary development takes place. Since they represent a political party, it is their responsibility to read all the documents circulated by the Lok Sabha secretariat, prepare notes and participate in debates and discussion in a serious manner and try to see that some good laws are framed for the overall benefit of the country. But, the new trend is all parties work with next elections in view and the general welfare of the people or progress of the country.
Another new trend is childish behaviour like hugging, winking and throwing flying kisses on the floor of the house. That is no way of spreading love and here I agree with Modi that such acts are increasing because the so-called veterans in Congress party still believe in the concept of ‘Darbari’ and instead of advising Rahul Gandhi appropriately, defend such acts. The virus of ‘Darbari’ has now spread even to almost all the regional parties across the country.
In Parliament, the opposition accuses the BJP of behaving in an autocratic manner. But what are they doing in the states? Let us take a quick look at the two Telugu states, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The opposition is hardly allowed to raise their voice. All-out efforts are made to curtail the freedom of dissent. We have seen how the AP government slapped an attempt to murder case on the leader of opposition N Chandrababu Naidu for the incidents that took place in Punganur recently. On Friday, cases were booked against Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan for the comments he made during a road show.
The Darbari team starts off with all kinds of relevant and irrelevant (mostly irrelevant) comments on the opposition leaders. But they assume that it is their right to use choicest abuses against the opposition leaders. They need not have any control on their language, but the opposition should not make any adverse comment. Everyone swears by Constitution. But hardly anyone follows it in letter and spirit.
The only way to clean the environmental pollution of the political arena is through the ballot but unfortunately that process has also been corrupted. Political parties without exception feel that the direct transfer of money to the voters will rain votes for them, whether they do any work or not.