The ruckus that we are witnessing in the Parliament nowadays is suggestive of a deep rot in the democracy as it is being understood in the Indian context today.
The washouts are exacting much price not only in terms of money but also in terms of the loss of people's belief in the parliamentary system of governance. The parliament which otherwise should serve as the highest platform for a free, constructive and open debate on country's socio-economic and political development is being perceived as a chamber for settling the scores with the political rivals by the politicians. Today if Congress is blocking the proceedings over some issues, same yardstick was used by the BJP in 2010 over the 2G scam when it disrupted the whole winter session of the Parliament. This witch-hunting and lambasting the opponents is not the problem but that it is being done in the garb of democratic process definitely is. This melodrama is not confined to the corridors of the Parliament only, much more is happening outside it too, all in the name of democracy.
Though the current developments taking place in the political landscape of India are grim, they are following a scientific rule of cause and effect. The undemocratic bend that we are witnessing in government today exactly resembles the one witnessed during the Indira Gandhi years in 1970s. When 42nd Amendment Act was enacted by Congress regime giving special powers to government, same powers were used by the Janata regime to negate the provisions by enacting the 44th Amendment Act. Nothing has changed since then and thus the political acts and backlashes have alternated each other. In continuance with this trend, the latest political vendetta received a spark with the fine-tuning of gubernatorial offices by the new NDA regime last year. The Governors who were feared of having owed allegiance to the outgoing UPA regime were shown the doors and new ones nominated in their places. But all guns need not to be trained at NDA only because a precedent had already been set by the previous regime in this regard. The NDA was just carrying the vogue forward. And then unfolded the carefully engineered scheme of experimenting with the institutions—constitutional, statutory, non-statutory, academic etc—in order to place the ideological kith and kin into the institutions' administrative apparatus for fast-forwarding the narrow and exclusivist agendas and safeguarding the predefined vested interests.
Consider the following: An attempt is being made at redefining controversial bills as money bills as they require to be passed in Lok Sabha only (Rajya Sabha can withhold them for a fortnight after which they are automatically deemed to have passed), there is a lot of interference by Centre in the political matters of Delhi via Lieutenant Governor, both the government and opposition have embarked on a mad race of blowing the lids off the age old scams and controversies and attributing them to each other (e.g. in Goa, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand etc), there are reports of brutal and lethal misuse of state machinery for meeting political ends etc. As such it is raining blame games in India with allegations flying thick and fast. Amidst this cacophony, some serious questions arise. When would the political parties rise above these petty power tussles and acknowledge genuinely and absolutely what is good and bad in each other? When would a right ecosystem develop that would herald a genuine democratic process in the country? When would the government start behaving as accommodative rather than offensive and when would opposition become responsible and humble rather than being immature and obstructive?
Tail piece: As against the Supreme Court's ruling, the Congress party is demanding that the assassins of Rajiv Gandhi be hanged. It is criticizing the government for its failure in doing so. Can I ask you that despite being in power continuously for ten years and before that also, why couldn't you manage to do it yourself? On the other hand what could be more ludicrous and absurd than this that the National Conference is demanding that the mortal remains of Afzal Guru be returned? It is these chameleon characteristics of political parties that have hamstrung the democratic ethos in India.
(Mohammad Muqaddas Hussain is B Tech from NIT Srinagar)