Logjam, pandemonium scenes and no-holds-barred showdowns in Parliament are nothing new since efforts by all stakeholders ought to be made to make it a true temple of democracy.
The opening week of the ongoing Parliament session has been mired in logjam over Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on Indian democracy. Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha have been adjourned till March 20, following protest by the Opposition and treasury benches.
Some references to past instances and the battle of wits could perhaps give a clue that the members themselves can find a solution to the problem. In 2010 and 2011, corruption issues dominated the scenes, and there used to be frequent disruptions in the running of both houses of Parliament.
In 2015 when PM Narendra Modi had already taken over, it was estimated that due to the Opposition-sponsored ruckus, Rajya Sabha’s productivity at one point stood at a measly nine per cent. Worse, the Question Hour functioned for a tragic one per cent in the Upper House and about 52 per cent in Lok Sabha.
This was also the time when efforts to pass the crucial Land Bill and GST draft law were also frustrated.
Now let us take the clock back to when members in Parliament found ways to resolve the issue between them with the battle of wits. Once when a member quizzed Acharya Kripalini on the fact that while he was busy running down the Congress party, his wife had already joined the party. The venerable lawmaker made use of his rhetoric powers. “All these years, I thought Congressmen were stupid. I never knew that they were gangsters too who ran away with other’s wives”. Needless to add, the whole House roared into laughter.
In 1962 during the debate on Chinese aggression and the ‘loss of Aksai Chin’, PM Jawaharlal Nehru remarked- “not a single blade of grass grows there”.His own party colleague Mahavir Tyagi was not impressed and took the floor and, while pointing at his own bald head, quipped: “Nothing grows here. Does it mean it can be chopped off?”. Even a sad House including the Prime Minister could not help enjoying the repartee.
In another instance, once irreplaceable Piloo Mody was accused of showing disrespect to the chair by speaking with his back to the Speaker; Mody defended himself, saying, “Sir, I have neither front, nor back. But I am round”.
BJP steps up attack on Rahul:
During the last one week, the ruling BJP could successfully turn up the heat on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his remarks in the UK on Indian democracy.
The party has approached Speaker Om Birla, requesting him to set up a special committee to explore the possibility of taking action against the Wayanad MP from Kerala. The BJP floor managers and other members said the matter is “not just a privilege issue, it’s much beyond that”.
There is already a precedent as in 2005, a special committee was set up led by Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal that probed the charges against 10 Lok Sabha MPs in the ‘cash-for-query’ scam.
The members were later expelled.
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has said, “The language of anti-India forces is the same. They speak on the same lines. A similar language has been used by Rahul Gandhi. It’s the language of all those who work against India”.
Notably, BJP National President J P Nadda too has joined the issue.
“It’s unfortunate that the Congress party is indulging in anti-national activities. After being repeatedly rejected by the nation, Rahul Gandhi has now become a permanent part of this anti-nationalist toolkit,” Nadda has said.
“Rahul Gandhi, what is your intention when you demand another country’s intervention in the internal matters of India?” Nadda asked, almost leaving Congress dumbfounded in more ways than one.