Much ado about nothing
This comes in stark contrast to the days when NT Rama Rao not only succeeded in bringing all the national parties on one platform but also succeeded...
Can opposition parties unite and fight the government irrespective of whether at the Centre or in Telangana is the million-dollar question that is doing the rounds? Contrary to the projections, when one takes stock of the manner the Parliament session ended and the way the Winter Session of the state Assembly is being conducted what becomes profoundly evident is that the opposition will remain divided.
This comes in stark contrast to the days when NT Rama Rao not only succeeded in bringing all the national parties on one platform but also succeeded in bringing them to the seat of power. A bigger achievement, which was nothing short of engineering a political coup, was that the charismatic Telugu Desam founder managed to bring sworn rivals, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communists on the same National Front platform.
However, in today’s world of politics whereby one-upmanship is the order of the day, such a united, strategic and commitment for a cause sounds Utopian. Before the winter session of the Assembly began, all the opposition parties stated that they would bring about floor coordination even as they would expose the government’s ‘failure’ in implementing various schemes it had launched since assuming office.
It seemed so ominous that the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao cautioned his MLAs against taking such ‘united’ calls lightly. He asked them to be fully armed with facts and figures about each of the ongoing welfare and developmental activities. However, in a class demonstration of ‘old habits die hard’, the opposition left the people disappointed.
It has proved that no serious thought was given for a fool-proof floor coordination and no strategy was worked out. Congress, the major opposition party, which should have taken the lead presented a picture that bore the image of a divided house. A day after the AICC gave clear guidelines to the state leaders that they should adopt an aggressive approach towards the government, the leader of opposition K Jana Reddy went soft on the Union and State government when the discussion on demonetisation took place and even supported the move much to the chagrin of the Congress members.
A day after alleging that democratic norms and practices had gone for a toss at the behest of the Speaker, Reddy chose to violate the normal practice by participating in a debate when nine of his party members were suspended from the House. The Congress had stated that they will not go into the well but they did precisely that and got suspended within five minutes after the session commenced on Saturday. The BJP did not protest over the suspension of the Congress members. It was only the TDP, which made some noise.
The general Parliamentary practice is that when the opposition insists that the Speaker accept their demand, the Speaker normally takes the opinion of other floor leaders and calls upon the leader of that particular party to ensure that the agitating members resume their seats. In case, pandemonium continues, the Speaker adjourns the house, calls the leaders for a brief meeting and tries to defuse the situation. But in this instance, within a couple of minutes of ruckus, the Legislative Affairs Minister moves a resolution to suspend the members and they are sent out. A divided opposition has come as a blessing for the ruling party.
In contrast, in AP Assembly, suspension of members is not done at such lightning speed though the opposition behavior crosses all norms of decency. There the YSRCP members climb on to the podium, thump the Speakers desk, raise slogans and even prevent the Assembly Secretariat staff from performing their duties.
Still the Speaker appeals to the members to restore order, asks the leader of the opposition to control his flock and adjourns the proceedings two or three times before finally adjourning the house for the day. Unfortunately, the losers are the people, as their issues are seldom discussed with the recent Parliament washout being a case in point.
By V RAMU SARMA