Analysis

Indian Democracy Being Reduced to a Farce?

During parliamentary sessions, rival political parties have certainly a right to raise their voices over issues which concern them, but not without maintaining parliamentary ethics and standards of them being politicians representing a major democracy. Sadly, it seems, many respected members of the Indian Parliament appear to care little for such norms and ethics. Rather, the degree to which sessions are used in simply making noise, indulging in blame games and so forth, gives the impression that barely little importance is given to this significant democratic institution for actually running the government. Shouldn’t this be viewed as an abuse of Indian democracy?

Yes, it is legislators’ right and also duty to voice their concerns over issues they feel aggrieved about. However, the same can be done without wasting parliament’s time and nation’s money. It is indeed ironical that so far the respected legislators have not displayed appropriate concern over crores of rupees being wasted during each session, parliament is not able to function because of rowdy behaviour displayed by legislators. True, when BJP was not in power, as an opposition party, it indulged in such behaviour on a larger scale. Now, the monsoon session has begun with Congress creating the impression of it going the same way that BJP had earlier gone.

If ruling coalition and opposition parties seem bent on hitting media headlines by laying charges against each other, then surely disrupting parliament is not the only option available. It would be great to see two sides debating, and if need be discussing, issues concerning them in an organized and civilised manner.

Considering that respected legislators are not oblivious of the democratic significance of their political standing, it is indeed amazing that they seem to accord little importance to the democratic importance of Parliament. It is not as if they have always maintained this attitude. In fact, during their electoral campaign, Indian democracy appears to be high on the political agenda of almost each and every candidate and party. Here, it may be noted that democracy may be interpreted in a wide-ranging manner to include its social, political, economic and also constitutional significance. The same does not apply to other terms included in the Preamble to the Indian Constitution, which are Socialist, Secular and Republic.

When referring to democracy for the people, by the people, and for the people, the implication is obvious. The respected legislators’ primary agenda is to serve the people. This aspect certainly is given primary importance during electoral campaigning and also plays a major role in helping candidates win elections. But the same agenda, it seems, is literally ignored during the parliamentary session. Little importance is given to best utilize the money used to run Parliament. Little importance is given to people’s democratic right that helped legislators gain entry into Parliament to play the democratic role for which they have been elected, that is serve the people.

One is thus forced to wonder whether many of the respected legislators really have little concern for the democratic importance of their political standing. And if this is really the hard truth, it also implies that the democratic importance of the electorate’s vote carries little value for them, once they have politically en-cashed it by becoming members of Parliament. Its importance is likely to rise again only when they join the political race of contesting the next  general elections. What a tragedy this really is, democratic significance of Indian politics being almost reduced to a farce.

Of course, politicians need to answer many questions where their respect for and duty towards Indian democracy is concerned. Their role as legislators not allowing Parliament to function is just one of these. Of late, some political noise has been made over “rehabilitation” of  Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu & Kashmir. Yet, to date, nothing much has been said about rehabilitation of the Muslims affected during Gujarat carnage (2002), Bodo and Muzafarnagar riots etc.

And this also raises the question as to whether victims of internal conflict, including communal disturbances are being viewed by the present government through the same democratic glasses? After all, democracy demands equal treatment for one and all. Is this democratic principle really being pursued for one and all, particularly where minorities have been the aggrieved party?

Certainly, Prime Minister Modi is welcome to maintain his stand on his not being responsible for Gujarat carnage. Yet, as the country’s prime minister, isn’t it his duty to ensure that Muslims targeted during Gujarat-carnage are rehabilitated and compensated for to start living normally again? The same may be said about Muslims targeted during umpteen other riots/

Each time a riot has occurred, the democratic right of the aggrieved party has been abused. In fact, rather than waste time and money in disturbing parliamentary proceedings, why don’t legislators spare some time and deliberate over the urgent need to reach an agreement on preventing riots and giving suitable compensation to rehabilitate aggrieved minorities? Indian democracy demands that its time that they did adopt a serious stand on this issue.    

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2015 on page no. 11

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