DEMOCRACY has been defined as government by debate. The tradition of debate is old in our country. But such a debate can be fruitful only when each party carefully listens to what the other has to say and has the desire to accept the truth in it.
– “Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya: A Profile” edited by Sudhakar Raje
Indian masses are changing. Agenda for development and governance has taken the centre stage. The credibility crisis faced by the democratic polity in general and political class in particular is decisively corrected through fervent voting behaviour of people during recent elections. Now delivering through people centric governance is the responsibility of all the stakeholders, including the opposition parties. Unfortunately, even after facing series of electoral defeats the grand old party of India is still in a disruptive mindset is a serious concern. When the centre is pushing for agenda of development and has successfully reversed the losses incurred due to corrupt practices in allocation of vital resources like mines and spectrum, there is a need to develop dialogue mechanism in Rajya Sabha.
In democracy it is beyond doubt that the role of opposition is to question the treasury benches about their policies and intentions. It makes democracy vibrant and productive. It is good that parliament is functioning for longer times and government is pushing for accomplishing agenda even by extending the scheduled session. But what kind of issues prevailed this budget session? Even after consulting the opposition and addressing their concerns pertaining to the Land Acquisition Bill, opposition ganged up under the leadership of dying Congress to stall the proceedings. Instead of discussing the issues related to development and farmer’s rights, reviving the Congress seems to be a major concern of this protest. The reality is farmers have been pushed into a cycle of debt by wrong policies in this agrarian country for more than 60 years. Therefore, mere land acquisition issue for development projects is not going to give justice to the ailing sector, it requires an overall revamp by making it a sustainable business proposition.
Making issues out of non-issues is another strategy adopted by opposition led by the Congress. So called snooping of Rahul Gandhi is a glaring example of this. Routine exercise of Delhi Police to maintain basic personal details, an exercise carried for all the important persons including the Prime Minister, has made into a controversy. Making sexist and racist remarks against women while discussing Insurance Bill by JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, is yet another example of shallow thinking. It has not only diverted the discussion from the crucial issue but also put the whole parliament in bad light. Linking all kinds of crimes, from attacks on churches to murders and rapes, to a particular ideology is another ploy of this disruptive strategy.
What is at stake due to this mindset is more important. After generating astonishing revenue for public expenditure through coal and spectrum auctions, government has successfully managed to sail the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill through. At later stage, Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill- critical for the energy sector and, GST Bill—seeking to introduce a uniform, national goods and services tax, Amendment in Citizenship Act to address the concerns of Pravasi Bhartiyas, The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and The Regional Rural Banks (Amendment) Bill, 2015 will also need a nod from the Upper House. These issues are critical not only for development but for transparency in governance and security of the nation.
Deendayal Upadhyaya rightly said, debate is the essence of democracy and it should strive for attaining truth. To regain political space adopting disruptive politics will not corner only the Government but the whole political class. Instead of going for ‘Sadistic thrill’ of stalling or reviving somebody, both the government and opposition should engage each other in positive discussions not only for themselves but for the larger national interest.