Monday October 22, 2018
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Ruling Party Vs Opposition: a continuous series of political vendetta and gluttony

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By Sreyashi Mazumdar

 

Bhains ke Aage Been Bajana (In English, it translates to: ‘reading a book in front of a buffalo’)

While looking at the aforementioned Hindi proverb, one might get bemused at its colloquial usage and the frivolity it brings forth- the proverb essentially takes a jibe at nonchalance. However, if pondered properly, one might run into a stark emulation of the same in the great Indian parliamentary episodes.

Our parliamentarians seem to have turned a blind eye to the wailing farmers, to the frustrated ex servicemen and agitation students. Laying-off all grievous issues, our political leaders are busy throwing pots and pans at each other in their attempts at resolving political grudges.

The recent disruption of parliament, the suspension of 25 Congress MPs and their subsequent protest to the knee-jerk reaction and the incessant mudslinging essay the hamminess that our parliamentarians take to keeping aside their responsibilities as the vanguards of the greater mass.

A rookie who might not have a clear understanding of Indian politics or an individual unaware of the string of events pervading the same since its inception might end up concluding the new found rebellion projected by the opposition as a judicious attempt at cleansing corruption and treachery but an average mango-man of this country is well versed with the series of political vendetta that has wrecked the sanctity of Indian democracy.

“We want to enlighten the people of the country how things are going, on one side they are telling about clean government and on the other they are not behaving as per their promise”, said Congress in a DNA report.

“Every corruption, scam and loot of public money is being done under the guardianship of the Prime Minister by the Congress with impunity”, BJP, as quoted in a Firstpost report.

 

Despite being hollered by two different parties, both BJP and Congress had the same ailment to talk of. BJP’s take on Congress came in the wake of a nation-wide protest against the flurry of scams clogging the credibility of the ruling UPA 2 government, whereas Congress’s dig at BJP comes in wake of the recent disciplinary action taken up by the speaker Sumitra Mahajan owing to the havoc unleashed by the Congress MPs.

 

“We are disappointed that we have not been able to get crucial legislation enacted entirely because of this obstructionist approach, ” said Sonia Gandhi as quoted in a Firstpost report.

“The Congress party should accept and seriously introspect after having ruled the country for the longest period of time, that negativism hurts the country. Should its obstructionist tendencies inflict an economic injury on the country?”, finance minister Arun Jaitley said (in a Facebook post) on Congress Party’s position on GST.

Both the leaders ruminating on a similar line of thought spelled out their disenchantment at the obstructionist policies each time the opposition tried to disrupt the parliamentary discourse. Mrs Gandhi’s fervent request to deliberate on the Food Security Bill collectively came at a time when BJP was hell bent on wrecking the functioning of the parliament whereas Arun Jaitley’s dither state was propelled by the agitational approach donned by Congress at BJP’s every single policy.

“Issuing an ordinance is something which should be done in exceptional cases and between two sessions of parliament. We (BJP) are against the ordinance route at this point of time and will register our protest with the president of India”, Rajnath Singh said during his tenure as the BJP president.

“The ordinance has given absolute power to the government and refuses to give any say to the villagers in the land acquisition process…This is an atrocity against farmers and democracy as well”, said member of parliament (MP, Rajya Sabha) Jairam Ramesh.

 

Reflecting on the words sounded out by both the political leaders, one might be taken aback at the retraction political parties resort to once they are at the helm of affairs. The BJP-led NDA government in an attempt to pass the revamped version of the Land Acquisition Bill undertook the ordinance route. Congress has done the same (Congress went for an ordinance for the protection of convicted MP’s and MLA’s ). Despite being aware of the tenets of the Indian constitution, both the parties tried to flout the same in a haste to pass their policies.

 

“We do agree that business should carry on, but the government was bulldozing the opposition…This UPA government has become a burden on the country and it should go. BJP is demanding not just the resignation of the Prime Minister, but that of the entire cabinet. This is culmination of so many scams and scandals including 2G and Adarsh Housing”, Venkaiah Naidu (Rajya Sabha MP during UPA’s rule), quoted in the Hindu.

“We will not budge from our stand and there will be no let up in our pressure  as far as issues of corruption, Sushma Swaraj and Vyapam are concerned”, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi remarked.

Both Rahul Gandhi and Venkaiah Naidu talk of corruption and expulsions of the allegedly tainted leaders, they second the disruption of parliamentary affairs during their respective stint as the opposition party. However, both the leaders seemingly fail to understand that a sound deliberation and cooperation might scuttle the level of corruption as compared to a protest or an indolent attitude.

Protests or opposition isn’t irrelevant in a democratic country like ours, it all the more enriches the participatory aspect of the same, but, using it as a bait in order to fulfill political grudges in a way pillages the flavor of democracy and creates a space for anarchy. However, it’s up to our beloved political leaders whether they conduct their responsibilities rationally or take to imbecility in their attempt at nibbling on their lust for power.

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What Would Be The Outcome Of The Judgement On Homosexuality With BJP At The Centre?

If parties like the BJP and "cultural" organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation.

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Flag Of BJP, homosexuality
Ruling on gays: Is the BJP out of sync with modern realities? Flickr

More than the social impact of the Supreme Court’s judgment on homosexuality, what will be of concern to the ruling party at the Centre is its political fallout. Hence, the eloquent silence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the subject.

For the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), any expansion of the concept of civil liberties is fraught with danger to their restrictive worldviews since a widening of human rights carries the prospect of greater individualism.

If the rights of the homosexuals to live without legal constraints are conceded, it can only encourage the people to free themselves of other restrictions as well such as on choosing live-in partners (of whatever sex) and eating, dressing and speaking as they please.

Homosexuality, India
SC decriminalises homosexuality, victory for gay rights. Pixabay

It is noteworthy that the verdict on gays has come close on the heels of the judgment which described the right to dissent as a “safety valve” which the government can only shut off at its peril lest there is an explosion.

Moreover, the court had also upheld not long ago the right to privacy which the government described as an “elitist” concept.

For the Hindu Right, as also for other religious fundamentalists, this dalliance with civil rights — the freedom to criticise the government, the exaltation of privacy and now the decriminalisation of homosexuality — entails a push towards liberalism and modernism which are anathema to any group which wants the society to be bound by shackles of orthodoxy and obscurantism.

It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.

Now that one of them is gone, there is little doubt that these closet followers of Britain’s 19th century politician Lord Macaulay — even as they decry the secular groups as “Macaulay’s children” — will hold on resolutely to the law on sedition as their only safeguard against the “anti-nationals” who, they believe, stalk the land.

Homosexuality
It is ironic that although the Hindutva brotherhood speaks of decolonising the Indian mind, the two colonial laws which have long been its favourites are the section on homosexuality in the Indian Penal Code and on sedition.
Wikimedia Commons

It is also possible that the saffronites will keep a hawk’s eye on any social problems that may arise because of the assertion of gay rights. As the BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has said, with eager anticipation, if a five-judge bench can overturn an earlier judgment in favour of criminalising homosexuality, a larger bench can undo the present verdict if gay bars begin to flourish and there is a rise in the cases of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infections.

Interestingly, what these judgments underline is how the judiciary is more attuned to the changing world than the elected representatives of the hoi polloi who often argue in favour of giving greater primacy to the legislature than the judiciary since they claim to represent the people while the judges are unelected denizens of an ivory tower.

However, one possible reason why MPs and MLAs, especially of the BJP, seem to be out of sync with the present-day world is the presence in their midst of a large number of criminal elements who can hardly be regarded as the most progressive sections of society.

For instance, of the 543 elected members of the Lok Sabha, of whom 186 have a criminal record, 63 belong to the BJP, followed by eight of the Shiv Sena, four of the Trinamool Congress and three each of the Congress and the AIADMK.

Homosexuality
Gay Pride Procession. Pixabay

What the Supreme Court judgment appears to have done is to persuade parties like the Congress, which usually hedges its bets lest it should fall on the wrong side of public opinion, to come out in the verdict’s favour, presumably because it senses that this judgment, more than any other, has become a touchstone in the matter of breaking out from the stranglehold of the past.

To distance a party from it, as the BJP is doing, will amount to virtually alienating the entire youth community. Even if a majority among them do not have homosexual instincts — according to official figures, there are 2.5 million gay people in India, but this may be an underestimate since, till now, it was unsafe for them to reveal their sexual orientation — the youths nevertheless see the ruling as an assertion of living life on one’s own terms and not be held hostage by the dictates of a society steeped in conservatism and of political parties which believe that their agenda can only advanced if the country is made forcibly to conform to khap panchayat-style social and cultural norms.

Also Read: Why JDU & BJP Coalition Will Remain Instant

To these youths, being or not being aware of homosexuality is of little consequence. What matters to them is to be able to make up their own minds and not be told by elders to abide by certain rules which are regarded as outdated by the younger generation.

If parties like the BJP and “cultural” organisations like the RSS realise the value and motivation of such mindsets, they will desist from their present attempts to impose a straitjacket of their pseudo-religious identity on the nation. (IANS)