I.N.D.I.A runs away from debate

I.N.D.I.A runs away from debate

When 26 parties met at Bengaluru, it was felt that the battle lines had been drawn, and that the opposition was serious to “protect the democracy,” which it always claims is in danger, and this time they would not allow a repeat of 2018 when it was a bigger picture when the opposition plane took off but soon crashed.

When 26 parties met at Bengaluru, it was felt that the battle lines had been drawn, and that the opposition was serious to “protect the democracy,” which it always claims is in danger, and this time they would not allow a repeat of 2018 when it was a bigger picture when the opposition plane took off but soon crashed.

While the meeting was on, it was felt that 2024 was going to be Modi v/s alliances. Even AAP announced that it had compromised with Congress party and directed its rank and file not to criticise it. The AICC leaders including Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge said that the Congress had no objection to scale down from its position of fulcrum to play the second fiddle.

Questions such as whether the BJP put all its eggs in Modi’s basket were raised by analysts. Debates and discussions began on whether democracy was really in danger and as usual all channels had panellists taking their own political line and it appeared as if it was a battle of BJP intellectuals v/s Congress intellectuals.

Some of them who were critical of the I.N.D.I.A felt that it was a “motley’ group of 26 parties and that there was no unifying factor and that the meeting was ‘warm greetings and cold calculations.’ The other side argued that such comments were there when the BJP joined the Janata government and later when NDA-1 led by Atal Behari Vajpayee formed the government.

The pro-Congress analysts said the issue is not who should form the government. Rather, it is who should not form the government and there is a perfect agreement among the 26 parties on the contention that the BJP should not form the government in 2024.

Everyone from among the 26 parties said they will raise issues in one voice in Parliament. The intellectuals seem to have seriously believed all the drama that was going on, but the man on the street simply analysed it as “Bahut dekha hai aise meetings.” All want votes, but not people’s welfare.

As the monsoon session began, it became clear that the opposition parties as usual were not interested in any discussion and were helping the government, instead. Any government for that matter would like the opposition to create ruckus because it will give them an escape route to say “look we were ready, but it’s the opposition that ran away” while the opposition also likes that route because it can accuse the government of shying away from discussions.

It is a matter of shame that the lawmakers are more interested in whether it is a short duration discussion or an adjournment motion. Many of them have been in Parliament for decades together and know very well that even if the government takes up something as a short duration discussion, keeping the seriousness of the issue, it can be converted into a full-fledged discussion.

It is a fact that Manipur is burning. Some newspapers even took a jibe at the Prime Minister, saying “It took 79 days for pain and shame to pierce into 56-inch skin.” Agreed, but why is the opposition refusing to take measures to end the pain? What is paining them? Is not I.N.D.I.A, a consortium of 26 parties, shedding crocodile tears? Why isn’t Rahul Gandhi able to tell his party chief, ‘look, lets stop the drama take up the discussion and corner the government’? Why is I.N.D.I.A running away from a discussion? How much more time and how many more horrific incidents need to take place before the I.N.D.I.A finally agrees not to disrupt the proceedings and takes up a discussion.

If this group of 26 fails to discuss the Manipur issue, then it would mean that this would be the first failure of the alliance. What best the opposition could have done was to accept the government proposal, tear into it, expose its failures and insist that PM should intervene before the Union Home Minister replies. That would have made some sense. The Prime Minister did not react to Manipur incidents for 79 days. Agreed, but then why spare the government by stalling the house? Why the opposition should lose a chance to put the government on mat. Who will answer this from among the 26 constituents of I.N.D.I.A?

It appears that the constituents of I.N.D.I.A feel that they are sure to defeat the BJP since they have formed an alliance and are creating ruckus in Parliament and wasting hard-earned money of the taxpayer is protecting democracy. Then this plane, too, is sure to crash before it takes off as it happened in 2018.

Lawmakers had better understand the fundamental issue that even their salaries are paid by the taxpayer so that the highest decision-making body discusses and comes up with solutions to the problems that the people and country face. Instead, Parliament House is being converted into a venue for dharna. The I.N.D.I.A should first understand that this is no way to save or protect democracy. Using every issue for political gains by any political party would further pollute the political atmosphere.

It is a matter of irony that I.N.D.I.A despite all the tall claims cannot take on the BJP in central India. The situation is not much different in North West India either. In South, the BJP does not have much stakes.

Let’s take a quick look at what happened during the first two days of the monsoon session of Parliament. On the first day, some parties moved an adjournment motion on Manipur violence and other issues. The opposition also demanded the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the discussion.

During the Parliament monsoon session on day 1, the opposition parties were sloganeering “Manipur Manipur” and “Manipur is burning.” PM Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were among those who were present in the House.

On day two, the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned on Friday. Rajya Sabha, which was adjourned in the morning session over the Manipur issue and the Chair expunged certain words from the records, witnessed uproarious scenes when it reassembled for the post-lunch session.

In Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the government was ready for a discussion on the Manipur violence amidst vociferous protests by the opposition parties which disrupted the proceedings of the House for the second consecutive day. The members, including those from the

Congress, DMK and Left, raised slogans and told Speaker Om Birla that “Manipur is bleeding”. True, dear leaders. Manipur is bleeding but why are you precipitating the bleeding?

Showing placards that INDIA wants PM to reply will not help. Any government in power would act like a wall in such situations and valuable time and money would be wasted. What a common man understands, doesn’t the politicians know?

One of the Rajya Sabha members was more concerned about the Chairman expunging the words like “Prime Minister should open his mouth on Manipur.” He was unhappy that the word ‘Manipur’ got expunged. Why, he asked. But they don’t answer why they are not discussing even when the government had come forward. Why can’t they keep technicalities aside and get down to serious work? Does it mean that they want the issue to be live till 2024 polls? Is that democracy?

Is not the I.N.D.I.A 26 losing an opportunity to discuss not just Manipur issue but other controversial issues such as Delhi Ordinance? AAP forced the Congress to step down from the position of fulcrum to play the second fiddle on this issue by saying that they would not attend the second meeting of opposition if Congress did not agree to oppose the ordinance, and the mighty Congress had to climb down.

Yet, the AAP in this case does not tell the Congress or any of the 26 members of the group to see that they maintain decency and decorum and utilise the opportunity to discuss Manipur and the ordinance as well.

There was time when the issue which used to lead to ruckus in Lok Sabha was discussed by the House of Elders i.e., Rajya Sabha. But now things have changed. Perhaps, even God would be wondering when will the lawmakers see some light and act to solve the problems of the people.

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