Expedience hobbles healthy debates

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the media at Parliament House on the first day of the Monsoon Session on Monday.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the media at Parliament House on the first day of the Monsoon Session on Monday.

Highlights

Let this session be result-oriented with effective debates so that the government can give people the answers sought by them

"Let this session be result-oriented with effective debates so that the government can give people the answers sought by them. I would urge all the honourable MPs and all the parties to ask the most difficult and sharpest questions in the Houses but should also allow the government to respond in a peaceful atmosphere. Democracy is strengthened when truth reaches people. It also strengthens people's trust and improves the pace of development."

That was Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the first day of the Monsoon session of the Parliament. Does it sound more like wishful thinking? Perhaps.

In general, we have seen that our leaders prefer more politicking than adhering to principles and morals in the conduct of their public life. Going by the claims of the political parties ahead of the Parliament session, we understand that the MPs have come prepared more for battling it out with the Treasury Benches in the House than for forcefully presenting people's view of the goings-on. If the Opposition is determined to stall the government business, then the ruling party, too, is equally committed to upholding the law of dominance. The politicians conveniently forget that there is more to the business of the Parliament. It is not just about debating a new law or scrapping some, or a move of the government that is to be opposed or supported. It has become a habit for the MPs to oppose even those moves undertaken for the larger good of the public.

Even state governments refuse to implement the laws enacted by the Centre because it could refurbish the image of the latter. We can only wish that political leaders adhere to moral rules more strictly and conduct themselves with dignity and decency in the house. For, given their high office, they decide and act on behalf of those they govern.

Moral rules and other considerations do not apply to politics. Is it wrong to expect our leaders to adhere to the moral values more than their political ideologies (also could be read as political exigency)? Of course, when one talks of morality, there is in addition to the morality of dirty hands, too, in action always.

We, as a nation, are facing two dangers. One is regarding our security. The second is more internal – it is the threat to our democratic processes. The blame for the latter should be borne by all. There are no holy cows here. The values that the politicians talk about and try to uphold are more a result of their considerations of vote-bank politics. These have got less to do with genuine concerns regarding democracy and its core values.

Citizens in a political community must be bound together neither by feelings nor by self-interest but by a commitment to common values discovered by public reason — values such as political freedom, solidarity, shared traditions and cultural heritage. Those who wield political power must realise that what they do has enduring consequences affecting the lives of an incalculably large number of people. Let's wish ourselves all the best anyway.

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