The issues raised by Gurudas Das Gupta in the article “Trying times for parliamentary system” (Oct. 24) are familiar to all those who follow the Lok Sabha proceedings on television.
Over the last two decades, the Opposition has followed an agitational approach more for the grandstanding effect rather than for taking the government to task by informed criticism. As a result, not only has Parliament’s true purpose not been achieved but people at large have started losing respect for the institution. Public opinion must be mobilised to make elected representatives behave responsibly.
Mr. Das Gupta has rightly summed up his excellent article with a categorical statement that parliamentarianism is looked upon more as a profession, unrelated to the discharge of a patriotic duty. Such a thought-provoking write-up from a knowledgeable parliamentarian was long overdue. It is for voters to send deserving, non-corrupt candidates to Parliament and State legislatures.
The article is a wake-up call for those who want Parliament to function better. The executive has rendered Parliament dysfunctional. The quality of parliamentarians which existed in the years immediately after independence is absent today. The judiciary had to intervene to uphold the sanctity of the great institution.
P. Rajamony Iyer,
The arguments could have been bolstered with prescriptions for strengthening Parliament’s functioning. Our MPs have forgotten that they are primarily accountable to people. There is no reason the ruling party MPs should always vote in favour of the government or blindly defend its wrongdoings.
The article is a must-read for young parliamentarians. The veteran MP’s prognosis was excellent. But remedies are nowhere to be seen on the horizon. The Union Cabinet is collectively responsible not to Parliament but the Nehru-Gandhi family. The biggest threat to democracy and participatory system is the spread of dynastic politics across the country.
All the points raised by Mr. Das Gupta are well known to civil society too, thanks to the telecast of parliamentary procedures. Empty seats during the afternoon, the dull expression on the faces of those present, absence of quality debates on matters of national importance, the total silence of many new and young members, the Opposition’s aggressive behaviour during some sessions, the Speaker’s helplessness to control unruly members and endless adjournments with least care for the time and money lost — all these are there for everyone to see.
Rameeza A. Rasheed,