India achieves unique distinction with PM sitting on fast to protest

The question to be asked is did the ruling party make any effort to reach out to the opposition to end the deadlock

Brij Bhardwaj

A new chapter has been written in the history of Indian Parliament and democratic set up when Prime Minister Narendra Modi sat on one day fast along with has colleagues because the second part of the budget session of Parliament was adjourned without transacting any business because of unruly scenes with members walking into the well of the House with banners and shouting slogans.

It was unique because the responsibility of running Parliament is the responsibility of the ruling party and Prime Minister is leader of the House in Lok Sabha. The question to be asked is did the ruling party make any effort to reach out to the opposition to end the deadlock . Why all-party meeting was not called. Lok Sabha which adopted the Finance bill without debate and amidst noise why no confidence motion could be taken up. It is also no secret that there was no chance of motion being carried as ruling party has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha.

More so in the last few days protest was being carried out by AIDMK members on issue of setting up Kaveri Water Board as ordered by the Supreme Court. AIDMK is a party which is an ally of the ruling party. As such an impression is being created that BJP did not want a discussion on issues like PNB – Neerav Modi scam, communal riots, distress among farmers and other issues agitating the opposition—a joke was made when Chief Minister of Delhi Kejriwal sat on a fast at India Gate, one wonders in what category a fast by Prime Minister falls as is the most powerful person in India.

There is no denial that there is total breakdown of dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition which in turn has made it difficult for Parliament to function. If Parliament stops working one wonders what kind of democracy will be running. In the present situation a bitter war has started between the ruling party and opposing parties, particularly the main opposition party, Congress. Instead of a debate on issues affecting the nation abuse has become the order of the day.

While President of BJP Amit Shah compared opposition leaders to a group of animals and insects, Congress leaders are guilty of calling Prime Minister “Maut Ka Saudagar” and other names. There are also serious attempts to divide voters on communal lines. If the happenings around Ram Navami are any indication, communal clashes between different communities cannot be ruled out. The manner in which the festival was observed by carrying weapons and shouting provocative slogans in areas dominated by minorities is any indication of what is to follow, it would be a sad day as we would see rioting instead of a debate between political parties.

In such a volatile situation Election Commission will have to play a vital role by keeping a check on State political parties to ensure that they campaign as per rules and avoid carrying out communal propaganda. The commission will be effective is it acts firmly and fairly in dealing with all issues. The extent of volatile atmosphere prevailing can be judged by the fact that rape and murder of an eight year old girl has been politicalised.

BJP is part of coalition Government in Jammu and Kashmir with PDP but it has not prevented two of its Ministers from joining the protest against investigation of the case by Crime Branch of State police. The agitation is being carried out by a local outfit Hindu Samiti which has been carrying out protest marches with carrying national flags and shouting slogans like “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. One wonders why there is sympathy for those accused of rape and murder instead of poor girl who was killed in such a brutal manner.

One can ask protesters why they are stopping filing of charge sheet against the accused. After all the case will be decided by judiciary which can not be accused of acting in a partisan manner. Giving protection to accused is becoming a fashion as in U.P a powerful member of State Assembly has not been arrested even though he has been accused of rape and his brother of attacking father of the girl while in custody as a result of which he died.

One wonders what has happened to BJP’s promise of maintaining law and order while contesting the poll. There is urgent need to implement laws in fair manner, otherwise making law against rape stringent will not help.

(Brij Bhardwaj is a veteran journalist and commentator)

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