Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a ‘fast’ against the opposition after an abysmal budget session. The budget session 2018 turned out to be one of the least productive in a decade. The Lok Sabha witnessed a lousy nineteen minutes of business transacted, while the Rajya Sabha that of two and a half hours. The Congress’ strategy from the very first day was that of using noise over logic and reason. Not shouting their throats out would give a chance to the government to expose them on the issues raised, and they could not afford such embarrassments before the 2019 elections.
The opposition will oppose. The BJP did it back then, Congress and its ilk is doing it now. That’s how it works, and the government should have known this and handled the situation better.
While the opposition unleashed its unruly MPs and exhibited all the theatrics it had to offer, what was at loss was the taxpayers money. 190 crore rupees were spent over a washed out session. The giving up of salaries by the NDA MPs was a step in the right direction. However, what sense are we to make of an ineffectual fast by the BJP lawmakers across the nation today? The opposition couldn’t care less if the BJP fasted unto death. A strong government and party like the BJP adopting a modus operandi which only befits politicians like Arvind Kejriwal, is not appreciable. No one will remember this fast when the elections approach, and as far as the opposition is concerned, they surely will not melt down with guilt and pity so as to ensure successive sessions to be smoothly conducted.
In a country where the opposition and government are always at loggerheads, making peace can be a difficult process. The present government needs to chalk out a strategy which will ensure smooth functioning of the parliament. If not, there is absolutely no doubt that the Congress will continue with its heckling tactics in the Monsoon and the Winter sessions. How can they let the government work before 2019? The question therefore is, will the BJP fast after every session that is unsuccessful? The strategy needs to be much more professional for a party which claims to be one ‘with a difference’.
After the joke of a fast by the Congress on Monday, it is increasingly clear that political parties should not indulge in ‘symbolic protests’ and make a joke out of themselves. Protests should be something conducted by the people, not by governments. Governments are here to govern, protesting against their governance is the prerogative of the people.
This new wave of protests by parties against each other leaves us amused. I repeat myself, the Congress couldn’t care less if the BJP were to sit on an indefinite fast. The people of India know very well who the disrupters and hecklers in parliament are. The BJP, rather than adopting the Kejriwal model, should in fact consult various stakeholders so as to ensure that public money is not wasted in future sessions.
Parliamentarians must realise that the people are not unaware of the shouting and unruly behaviour exhibited by them. The parliament of India cannot be reduced to TV channel debates.
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