by the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
How do you discuss inflation, unemployment, and concerns of people in a house where the opposition is either suspended from parliament or engaged in pitch battles over comments of an opposition member for the newly elected president? The sad part is that over the years the Lok Sabha which is supposed to discuss and debate policy matters has become more of a rubber stamp.
When Adhir Ranjan Chaudhry, called our newly elected president “Rashtrapatni” it was bit of a shock and distasteful, to be honest. Though many doubt his excuse that it was a Freudian slip but the ruling side in the house saw a golden opportunity for score-settling and parliament has been adjourned on and off after that. This controversy will consume most of the precious time of the parliament that should see serious discussions on issues such as deaths in Gujrat over the sale of spurious liquor, and communal tensions that have flared up in different parts of countries in recent times, corruption and rising prices of petrol and gas.
The election of Ms. Draupadi Murmu as the first female president from a tribal background should be a moment of pride for our country and democracy. This should serve as a shining example where people from disenfranchised communities can come forward and take the highest office in the country. No doubt it takes collective political will and the prime minister and his party should be credited with supporting and nominating Murmu but the PM should also teach his party members that the honour of the president cannot be tarnished by passing remarks of a house member. If the member had tendered an apology, it should have been stopped at that. But for some reason, the ruling leadership wants to avoid some uncomfortable questions so the drama continues.
Government too should challenge TMC in parliament over the pile of cash that has been found in an associate’s home of one of its top leaders. But for that to happen you need the parliament to work where politicians can be confronted over corruption but asking questions and speaking your mind are risky business in this country nowadays, especially, if you are an independent journalist or writer who doesn’t take sides. God save the country and god save the parliament.