Politics is considered as the ‘art of best possible’ and representative democracy as the ‘best available form of Government’. What has happened in the Indian Parliament and the State Assemblies this week has not only bled PM’s heart but brought tears into every Indian’s eyes. Whether its pepper spray in the Lok Sabha over Telangana or torn mikes and paper missiles over Law Minister of Delhi or forceful disruptions in the Governor’s speech in J & K Assembly and subsequent injuries to the lawmakers, all are shameful but deeply rooted in the appalling dance of divisive democracy. Unless we analyse the root causes of such unruly incidences we cannot ensure prevention of lowering standards of Legislative Houses.
Though these incidences have further reduced the diminishing credibility of lawmakers and political class in general, the onus of creating such situation lies on ruling parties, more for their approach to the policy matters and floor management. Demand for separate Telangana is not new but when issue is addressed without taking even party functionaries of the State into confidence and that is also through a non-responsible emissary like Digvijay Singh, basic motive behind the initiative is under question. Introduction of the Bill by the most discordant Home Minister, without listing it in agenda, despite of sufficient warning of untowardly resistance, is beyond comprehension. The shadow boxing within AP Congress is height of opportunism for electoral gains and it bound to drown the grand old party on both sides of the miscalculated divide.
Unprecedented hurling of tables and chairs in the J & K Assembly is another shocking blow to the parliamentary democracy. Again, a petty electoral gain is the root cause. The proposed administrative unit are conceptualised purely to polarise the Kashmiri vote-bank vis-à-vis Jammu and Ladakh and basic criteria of backwardness is subsided in this decision. Opposition leaders and civil society was conveniently sidelined to ensure the divide.
“If you agree with me then you are honest”, is the new dividing line in Delhi. After passing of Lok Pal by the Parliament, clearing Lokayukta should not be a problem for any Assembly. To encash the tag of “Jan” Lok Pal, new Bill is proposed by the Delhi Law Minister, whose ‘attitude’ is being questioned by his own party members. The blackmailing technique of passing it without circulating any draft to the legislatures and that only in the open space is more intriguing. Unwillingness to share the information about spending in the swearing-in ceremony at Ramlila Maidan, Delhi and on the sprucing up of Bhagwan Das Road residence allocated to the Chief Minister is definitely a dishonest move by a former RTI activist. The golden opportunity of presenting a truly aam aadmi centric governance is being wasted for ambitious electoral considerations.
‘Respect the Opposition voices’ is the founding principal of parliamentary democracy. Live transmission of the proceedings is meant to bring transparency. Elections are means to take the mandate on policies and programmes and not to divide the society. It is beyond doubt that MPs and MLAs are not above the law and all perpetrators should be punished severely. Stricter frisking norms for legislators should also be devised to avoid hidden entry of pepper and knife in the House. Media need to reduce the political value of destructive actions. Still, holistically speaking, ruling dispensation at the Centre is the biggest culprit. It is run by the dual power centre, guided by the extra-constitutional body like National Advisory Council, supported by the allies who are against the Government policies, investigative agencies are misused to target the Opposition and decisions are inherently divisive in nature. There is an urgent need to restore the reconciliatory dialogue structures of parliamentary democracy to regain the confidence of people in the political process.