Parliament of India: people are watching!
Parliament has come to a halt. One rather formal law about pecuniary jurisdiction of Delhi District Courts was passed in absentio. Barring that, no legislative business took place. In the logjam, I came across an article by Shekhar Gupta, ex-editor of Indian Express, the only newspaper I trust as upright. Shekhar Gupta took us down the memory lane to 1987 in his this article/editorial in Hindi and published in Dainik Bhasker.
Parliament in 1987:
Rajiv Gandhi was voted to power after an election campaign which was also riding on public sentiment on riots of 1984 and Punjab (or Khalistan) problem. He won by thumping majority of about 4/5th of the house. However in 1987 allegations of kickbacks to Gandhi family through various sources, surfaced. Since it related to purchase of Gun named Bofors, it is known by that name.
Allegations of bofors scandal resulted in demands for explanation and enquiry. Opposition of just 15 MPs was vocal and effective. On the street, every corrupt official would say that if Prime minister need money, so does he. It was the day when corruption was officially baptized and adopted as de facto member of family.
If parliament does not function properly, as Shekhar Gupta, rightly point out, Govt lose credibility (Iqbal) to be in power. But comparison of today with Bofors scandal is not only unfair but illogical. However logjams has different effect. Opposition lose its credibility too. What followed in next elections after elections, coalition governments and a successful minority govt run on corruption and bribe. Here is link to JMM bribe and Narsimha Rao Prime Minister.
Repeat performance of opposition:
Electorate not only gives mandate but it wants every party to follow it in letter and spirit.
The same thing happened in 1999 when just short of majority Government of Atal Bihari Govt was voted out. He tried to reach out during confidence motion to give him issue based support but no heart melt. He came back with majority because of opposition. He had nothing more to offer. His party had nothing more to offer. But opposition lost to him because of its conduct.
Congress/UPA 1 govt from 2004 to 2009:
BJP was voted out of power in 2004 for two reasons. Arrogance of mini achievements and falling in trap of Tehlka. It’s ministers, officials, and party president were trapped on camera receiving petty gifts in cash. They thought if Congress can do it, it must be norm. But they were wrong and spy camera declared it’s arrival with a bang. Congress came to power on agenda of reform, privatization and change from a corrupt regime. They won by simple majority. Now it was foolish retaliation of LK Advani to create logjam in parliament. It continued like forever. Result, in 2009, congress won by better majority. After victory the stock exchange rose so fast and so much which must be a record. Stock Market rose by 10% in two sessions lasting few minutes each. It reflected the expectation of the people. Rest is history.
Circa 2014, BJP voted to power on same expectation and with a clear majority. First time after 1984, a clear mandate to one party and opposition has not learnt anything. Congress will persist on foolish obstructionist attitude without analyzing the past and if my guess is that Modi must be chuckling. Congress is gambling on something which never happened. Obstructionist parties never gained political mileage. But it will give Modi a good reason in 2019 to appeal to people to vote him again to complete the work he started and even if he is able to show he has done something inspite of disruptions, he will get favourable response (like Congress got in 2009) to do better.
Logjam or avoiding discussion in parliament, public is watching and shall respond.
Presently the Congress MP, Ghulam Nabi Azad has objection that industrialist are opposing to their attitude and telling them, how to behave. But if you disagree with disruption policy of Opposition, vote here to online petition started by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).