Oppn walks into govt trap

Oppn walks into govt trap

The Telangana State Legislature is witnessing a showdown between the ruling party and the opposition. Walkouts, suspension, heated exchanges have...

The Telangana State Legislature is witnessing a showdown between the ruling party and the opposition. Walkouts, suspension, heated exchanges have become almost a daily feature. Obviously, people’s issues are held hostage to the political rivalry. Even as the State government mulls massive increase in the salaries of legislators, there seems to be no improvement in the functioning of the legislature. What ails the legislature? Is it the politics that has cast shadow on the functioning of the legislature? Is it due to the absence of clarity in the rules governing the functioning of the legislature? Who should be blamed for this milieu?

The political climate is certainly vitiated by the ongoing defections from the opposition to the ruling party. This continues even when the legislature is in session. The opposition is deeply agitated over the tactics of the ruling party. Both the Congress and the TDP are the victims of ruling party’s onslaught. Opposition is crying foul. Obviously, the opposition is in no mood to tolerate this calculated attempt by the ruling party to decimate opposition by encouraging defections. It accuses the ruling party of subverting the democratic process. It sees a sinister design by the government to decimate the opposition. The ruling party seems to be taking advantage of the fragmented opposition. The opposition off late has realized that it would be further stifled if it remains quiet.

According to the opposition, this may be due to fear of discontent brewing against the government’s policies or sense of insecurity emanating from war of inheritance within the ruling party. The first reason is obvious. The second reason is a speculation. The ruling party’s answer is simple. The TRS accuses Congress of “devils quoting the scriptures”. But, the moot point is why should the TRS follow the footprints of a devil like political party? The TRS is emulating the Congress legacy.

However, the TRS reply cannot be totally brushed aside. The Congress has a dubious distinction of conducting such operations when it was in power. The party, which is notoriously known for such undemocratic practices, cannot teach political morality. Similarly, the TDP, which is indulging in a similar operation against the opposition in Andhra Pradesh where it is in power, has no right to complain in Telangana. All the parties have conveniently subverted the Constitutional provisions governing defections. A member is disqualified from the party membership the moment he or she voluntarily gives up the membership of the party or violates the whip of the party. But, this Constitutional provision is violated with all possible brazenness.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary conventions and practices are undermined. The ruling party has a special responsibility to ensure a smooth functioning of legislature. But, the ruling party is deliberately inciting the opposition. The reference to Heritage and repeated mention of Chandrababu Naidu, who is not a member of the House, are classic examples of the ruling party’s attempt to incite the opposition.

But, unfortunately, the opposition instead of responding to the challenge by taking up the people’s issues is also treading the same path. The opposition can corner the ruling party by raising the public issues. But, a mere political response would only strengthen the hands of those who are in power as they have numerical majority in the House.

Ministers are seen giving long answers and often even irrelevant replies. Inexperience, immaturity and even political arrogance seem to be the reason behind such unwarranted behaviour by a few ministers. In a bid to attract the attention of the supremo, ministers are often seen responding in an objectionable manner. Legislative business is a serious activity. It needs proper preparation and commitment. Ministers are even not allowing the opposition members to speak. As the Supreme Court observed, opposition represents a voice different from that of the government and thus given adequate respect. Legislature cannot be allowed to become a victim of political insensitivity.

As the opposition puts the government in dock on its lapses, the ruling party is mounting a counter attack on the opposition. But, this confrontation has turned into a political battle on partisan issues rather than a Legislative scrutiny of governance by the Executive. Members of both sides should respect parliamentary conventions. Legislature is not a forum for speeches alone. People expect a constructive debate and a solution to their concerns like acute power crisis, which is taking a heavy toll of the economy and livelihoods. The chaotic manner in which the government is implementing welfare schemes and ignoring farmer’ deaths is attracting the wrath of people. The opposition should utilise the discontentment among people to take on the government. It cannot remain silent. The opposition’s silence can be misunderstood by people.

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