The chronically repetitive and regular disruptions in the Lok Sabha have set an unhealthy precedent for the future of Indian democracy (“True to form, Lok Sabha drowns in din on Day 1”, Feb 6). A country that faces a billion issues that require prompt attention and action can scarcely afford the outrageous waste of time, public money and resources that our politicians indulge in with their petty nitpicking and settling of old scores. The UPA’s venality, apart from presenting an immense monetary cost to the nation, has as an added consequence resulted in its developing a moral weakness that a disruptive Opposition has no qualms about exploiting. Our only hope is that the upcoming elections will herald the return of meaningful and constructive engagement on the floor of the House.
Sadly, in our age policymaking is held hostage to political one-upmanship. The government’s inability or unwillingness to build a consensus on important bills leads to a fractured society. The government and the opposition, which enjoy the heady power of policymaking without having to bear concomitant accountability, simply blame one another for the parliamentary logjam. Unless a proper parliamentary code of conduct is adopted and enforced, there is nothing to stop people from losing faith in democracy.
Telangana’s statehood is a fait accompli and Seemandhra leaders would do well to realise that protests will not alter the decision of the UPA government, which has been taken on the basis of extra-federal reasons. The MPs’ practice of stalling parliamentary proceedings will only serve to invite public ire and sully their image. The offending MPs must be held accountable for disruption and made to pay for squandering the taxpayers’ money. It is a shame that adjournment of Parliament has become seemingly the norm rather than an occasional event.
“A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman, of the next generation,” James Freeman Clarke said. Our Parliament is sorely in need of statesmen, given the inordinate filibustering on show (“No business as usual”, Feb. 6). The 15th Lok Sabha is going on to represent the worst period in India’s parliamentary history. I believe each of the first three Lok Sabhas, from 1952 to 1967, is known to have sat for over 600 days each. The current House, with only a short interim budget session remaining, has met for just 345 days. A number of crucial bills are still pending even as other less important ones have been passed hurriedly for populist reasons. If the 2014 elections hold out any promise, it lies in the hope that people will use the opportunity to elect some visionaries to revive our ailing democracy.