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Parliament Logjam

August 1, 2015

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The opposition parties have brought a whole swathe of allegations against the BJP’s various Chief Ministers – Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vasundhara Raje – and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and demanded their resignation. However, the central government has stated emphatically that just because many allegations have been brought against them, no political authority figure associated with the party will put down his or her papers. This means that the parliament is going to face a logjam of sorts and as things stand now, there seems to be no way out of the predicament.

What is the Government saying?

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, has stated in no uncertain terms that the government is not working to appease the opposition and its focus is firmly fixed on development. Congress has led the vociferous protests with slogans such as “first resign and then talk” and “no discussion without resignation”. However, by the looks of things, BJP seems to be unflustered and has been asking the opposition to discuss important issues, going so far as to say that the opposition should not be running away from discussion.

Condition of Rajya Sabha

This has led to a widespread furore among the opposition parties and Hamid Ansari, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, was today forced to delay the proceedings in the Upper House of the Indian legislature till 1 p.m. It was adjourned till 12 p.m. before because of the uproar when the ruling party tabled reports and routine papers. Going by the response from Naqvi, one thing can be assumed for sure that the government is unlikely to change its position anytime soon and it is expected that this trend would repeat itself in the immediate future as well.

What is the Opposition saying?

The Rajya Sabha members from Congress have been asking Chouhan to resign owing to the Vyapam scam. Swaraj and Raje have supposedly helped Lalit Modi, the man who headed the IPL and is now being probed by authorities against India, and this is the main area of grouse for Congress. The government wants to discuss all the aforementioned issues, but the opposition is more bothered with the possible plans of the BJP.

Case against Congress

Recently, a case of bribery has come up against Digambar Kamat, the Chief Minister of Goa, and Tarun Gogoi, the Chief Minister of Assam. It has been alleged that both of them were bribed by a U.S.-based establishment, so that it could get water infrastructure projects in the two states. If proven to be correct, this will land both of them – members of Congress – in a precarious situation. This also seems to be a major arrow in the BJP’s quiver and it would probably help the ruling party maintain its unflinching stance. Virbhadra Singh, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and a Congress member as well, is presently embroiled in a case of disproportionate assets and experts feel that the BJP will leverage that issue as well. It is expected that the BJP will also raise this issue in the parliament if discussions happen on August 3,2015.

What does this mean for India?

To be rather precise, this shows a rather poor picture of politics in India to all and sundry. Yet this is nothing new – a further affirmation of the traditionally sorry state that politics in India finds itself in. The parliament is functional only for a few weeks in a year and instead of focusing on development and eradication of critical problems the members of the parliament are busy splattering mud at each other. Even though at this stage, these are just allegations that do generate some apprehensions in the minds of the common people and they are always at a loss to choose their political representatives – ones who can be entrusted for the greater good.

The unabated continuation of such incidents also shows that there are still plenty of authority figures in India who consider themselves beyond reproach and it is their dubious actions that effectively nip in the bud any hopes of significant and progressive discussion and consequent action on important issues in the parliament. People are always calling out for change, but the lure of power in India is such that the ones who are important find it really hard to control themselves. The dangerous aspect of this all is that they are in a position to influence the lives of ones who have elected them to power – for better or worse.

 

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I am from Kolkata. Like any other Bengali I love my fish, eggs and bhaat and sweets but I also feel proud to be a part of the biggest melting pot of the world - India. It is true that I need to go a long way before I finally call it a day but I have come some way and am sure will travel further. Cheers :)

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