The current logjam in the Parliament is nothing new. It has become an almost regular practice in recent times. Such ruckus is created for the benefit of either the Opposition or the ruling dispensation. All proceedings are stalled, pandemonium breaks out and no business, however important, can be transacted. This is a dangerous pattern of parliamentary behaviour being repeated over and over again. Ironically, both sides – the Treasury and the Opposition benches – cry themselves hoarse about the wastage of public money and the opportunity to speak for the people in the Parliament and inform them of momentous issues facing the country. Thus both sides are contributing in making the Parliamentary form of democracy despicable for the average citizen.
But, the stalemate this time has much more than meets the eye. This time both the Houses of Parliament are not working because of the BJP taking the initiative to stall all proceedings which apparently is triggered by reported remarks made by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during his recent tour in the UK that Indian democracy is under threat, blaming the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for it. His exact words are: “Democracy in India is a global, public good. If Indian democracy collapses, in my view, democracy on the planet suffers a very serious, possibly fatal blow. So, it is important for you too. We will deal with our problem, but you must be aware that this problem is going to play out on a global scale.”
He attributed this dangerous development to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which, he claimed, has captured almost all of India’s institutions.
These words are enough for the BJP to haul the Congress MP over the coals, accuse him of working against the country, instigating foreign powers to interfere with the internal affairs of the country and shaming India’s democracy, Parliament, judicial system and her strategic security.
These allegations appear to be a travesty of truth and gross exaggeration. Available evidence suggests Rahul did not exhort foreign powers to meddle with Indian affairs. He is not being allowed to give his version in the Lok Sabha. On the contrary, Union Ministers have taken the lead in demanding he apologize to the House first for his remarks.
The matter could have been disposed of by seeking an explanation or clarification from the man himself and the Parliament could have carried out normal business. But, that is not to be. One BJP MP is even trying to terminate Rahul’s Lok Sabha membership. This overreaction of the BJP is intended to stall the House so that the demand for investigation into the Adani scam does not gather strength.
The question is why the BJP is attaching so much importance to Rahul Gandhi and his so-called remarks when it considers him a “Pappu,” a nonentity. Certainly, it could not be that it fears him politically for the simple reason that he has come across as a reluctant politician without the calibre to take on the mighty ruling party. The Opposition is in disarray and till date there are no signs that it may shape into a coherent alliance with the Congress forming the nucleus during the run-up to the elections next year.
The irony is while the government urged the Speaker to form a committee to go into Rahul Gandhi’s remarks, it is stonewalling all Opposition efforts to order a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the multi-billion dollar share market scam and dubious monetary transactions involving Gautam Adani’s group.
That appears to be the main reason for the parliamentary logjam so that the demand for the JPC can be shelved to the cold storage and the Opposition denied such a powerful weapon to go after the Modi government. Adani is known to be a close friend of the Prime Minister who cannot escape responsibility for fostering the growth and eventual scam by the Adani group. A JPC will, in all likelihood, open the lid of a can of worms that may cause incalculable harm to the electoral prospects of the BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
This explains the brouhaha over Rahul Gandhi’s remarks and the stalemate in the Lok Sabha. The strategy seems to discredit him by any means so that his tirade against the government over Adani group’s alleged scam does not get traction from the people during the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls next year. A similar technique helped the BJP deflate Rahul’s campaign on the controversial Rafale deal in the last Lok Sabha elections. However, sending the Delhi Police to Rahul’s residence in New Delhi to inquire into his statement about women being unsafe might be BJP’s undoing and beneficial to Rahul and the non BJP parties in general at this particular juncture.
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