By Sunil Dang
Second half of the Budget Session ended on a sad note where our parliamentarians failed to discuss the budget 2018 resulting in it being passed without any discussion. This has happened for the first time in the Indian political history post-independence. This was not the first time when the entire session got washed out in pandemonium. Earlier, it was opposition parties that stalled parliamentary proceedings for its petty demands, which was more related to its ego than the public welfare. The demands for grants of selected ministries were not discussed and the Appropriation Bills and the Finance Bill were also passed without discussion. An important amendment of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act was surreptitiously introduced in the Finance Bill with retrospective effect going back to 1976 and was passed without members even noticing it. With the no-confidence motions already tabled by the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress, nothing could be more soothing for the government than these daily disruptions.
Everyone is aware of the cozy relationship between the BJP and the AIADMK whose leader Thambidurai is the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha and one of the leading disruptors of the House in recently concluded budget session. The Speaker has taken the view that she cannot put the no-confidence motions to the House if it is not in order and she cannot correctly count the number of members who may stand in its support. So for days on end, it has not been possible to take up this most important motion. The government remains supremely indifferent to the goings on and with the help of its captive media has succeeded in creating the impression that it is the opposition which is solely responsible for this state of affairs. There is no evidence of any attempt of the part of the government to reach out to the opposition parties, especially at the senior-most levels. The Gujarat model has been adopted at the central level with a vengeance.
Keeping in mind that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a first time MP, it is the job of his senior ministers and party leaders to remind him that running parliament is direct responsibility of the government. If there is a logjam senior ministers of the government should reach out to opposition parties and on the basis of some give and take to end the logjam at the earliest. But, for Modi, not only is he facing a talent pool crisis in his cabinet, he is also confronted by this problem in handling this parliamentary logjam too. His most reliable trouble shooter Arun Jaitley has fallen ill and is unable to remain as active as he was a few months ago. After Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu was another important man who used to bail out the government during such parliamentary disruptions. But, Venkaiah has become Vice president and he can’t interfere into active politics now. But, Modi has other leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh who can be Modi’s man to reach out to the opposition. However, they can do this when Modi would be interested in working out this logjam. The way the, Parliamentary Affairs Minister has been attacking the Congress and other opposition parties for disrupting the parliament, it seems as though the government is more interested in continuing this logjam and hide its failure to deliver which would surface on the floor of the house during parliamentary debates.
The BJP is deliberately delayed the table of ‘No Confidence Motion’ moved by its former ally TDP and YSR Congress. Had the motion been tabled, the BJP would have easily sailed through this test as numbers are still in its favor. But, during the no confidence motion debate, it would have certainly come to the floor of the house and to the people watching this debate, that the BJP and its ally has government in 21 states. What more they need to ensure growth which Modi has promised with ‘achche din’ jibe. Modi’s failure to handle the Dalit unrest in various parts of the country and youth aspiration through job creation would have given the opposition and edge in coming Karnataka Assembly Polls. Hence with a ‘fixed Hullabaloo’ with AIADMK, BJP successfully avoided the possible embarrassment. However, my advice for Modi government is flat and simple — delaying the parliamentary process would lead to more damage as in Monsoon Session, there would be three state — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — assembly polls round the corner.