Agitate but also legislate
Allegations, insinuations and innuendos will rain cats and dogs in Parliament’s Monsoon Session beginning next month. As one with an implicit faith in parliamentary democracy, I’m a tad worried. For I believe that instead of painting each other black, politicians and political parties represented in the two Houses must come across as acting against graft and for transparency in governance.
That’s what people expect of them. And that’s what they must do—agitate but legislate!
The heat’s going to scald the ruling combination more, what with a plethora of scams ranging from the 2G (in which A Raja has since sought to directly drag the PM and P Chidambaram) to the CWG that are at various stages of trial and investigation. The latest terror attack in Mumbai has only added to the UPA’s predicament the Opposition is bound to exploit.
The treasury benches are almost certain to rebut the principal Opposition, the BJP by raising chief minister Yeddyurappa’s reported indictment by Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in the Karnataka mining scam. This game of pot calling the kettle black could result in an impasse that might be difficult to break.
The parties at war will do well to accept a truce and cooperate in legislation making after ritualistic fireworks. Their collective image will take a hard knock if they spend time fighting without work. The whole country is awaiting political consensus on a slew of legislations—including those for setting up the Lok Pal and putting in place the food security act and a law governing land acquisition and compensation.
A failure on the politico’s part will compound the public cynicism rooted in progressive loss of faith in the system. It’ll at once restrict the space that constitutionally belongs to the executive and the legislature, affording greater room for interventions by the judiciary and the civil society.
Such interventions are good at times. But they also on occasions are double edged swords capable of cutting either way. Shape up or be shipped out. That’s the writing on the wall for the parliamentarians generally and the government particularly.
It’s a no-brainer that the responsibility for bringing legislative business before Parliament is that of the ruling dispensation. But it cannot accomplish passage of new laws without the Opposition lending a shoulder to the wheel. The two must rise to the occasion. The government must reach out to the Opposition and the latter must reciprocate. Easier said than done? Looks like but certainly worth a try.