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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Parliament Uproar

BY THE EDITOR:

The brute majority that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance enjoys in Parliament gives the ruling dispensation the numerical muscle to bulldoze its way through any opposition to its way of working as has been evident since the alliance returned for a second term. The events in Parliament since the massive security breach on December 13 are further evidence of that. Till Monday, at least 78 MPs from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have been suspended for the remainder of the ongoing winter session. Their crime: They have not behaved in a manner that behoves Parliament. These MPs, as also those who have so far not been given the marching orders, have been agitated ever since the security breach shook the country on a day marking the 22nd anniversary of the terrorist attack on Parliament in 2001 that left several dead; they have been agitated because their demand for the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, to make a statement on the incident that has shown the country in poor light before the world, have fallen on deaf ears.

As Parliament’s functioning came to a virtual halt because of protests by the Opposition MPs, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah spoke about the breach in interviews to newspapers and television channels. This has further angered the Opposition as both of them have ignored Parliament over an incident of national security when it is in session and instead went on to air their views outside. Quite expectedly, taking a swipe at the prime minister, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has said, “Prime Minister can give an interview to a newspaper; Home Minister can give interviews to TV channels. But, they have zero accountability left to the Parliament – which represents the people of India.” He went on to say that first, intruders attacked Parliament and then the Modi government is attacking the august House and democracy. All Democratic norms are being thrown into the dustbin by an “autocratic” Modi government by suspending MPs. While so many MPs have been suspended, one from the BJP, Pratap Simma, whose office had issued the visitor passes to the intruders, continues to be in Parliament.

In his interview to a newspaper, the prime minister has admitted there has been a security breach and that it indeed is a matter of concern, but more important is investigation to get to the root of the issue than any debate over it. The security breach involves Parliament and it should not be too much to expect that there should be a debate there while the investigation can go on. For not making a statement in Parliament it is justified that the Speaker is custodian of Lok Sabha where the intrusion took place and the government has nothing to do with it. One of the slogans raised by a woman accomplice of the intruders outside Parliament was ‘tanashahi nahi chalegi’ (dictatorship will not be allowed); avoiding uncomfortable issues in Parliament has become a trait of the BJP as was seen over the Manipur situation when the prime minister was forced to speak only because of a no-confidence motion. That is the power of brute majority.

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