Friday, November 23, 2012

BJP won’t let Parliament function; nor the Executive….

Day 2 of the winter session was a washout as expected. The pattern has become clear. Under any pretext, the BJP will ensure that Parliament is held to ransom. Then BJP spokespeople will rush to TV studios and spit out more venom at the Government and try to justify their unjustifiable blockade of democracy itself. Given their good oratorical skills, they will make it appear as if the Government has something to hide. Forget FDI in multi brand retail. The blockade could be for anything. The appointment of the new CBI chief, the new financial bills, anything.

Given its position as the principal opposition party, such conduct is unacceptable. Along with the ruling party, it has enormous responsibility in the running the country. It’s like two surgeons who are performing an operation on a patient. One is the lead surgeon (the “attending” in the language of Grey’s anatomy!) and the other is like an anaesthetist. The two have different jobs to do, but there are some places where their paths cross. The responsibility of the surgery is the attending’s, but without the help of the anaesthetist, the surgery cannot be done. Now imagine, if the two can’t stand each other. The anaesthetist wants to be the attending but is not being able to earn the chance. So he creates hurdles for the attending to try and make him fail. Does the anaesthetist care for the patient? Not one bit. The anaesthetist in our politics – the BJP – is doing the same thing.

So the BJP won’t allow Parliament to function; ensuring that important bills are not passed. It spurned the co-operation talks with the PM and the FM – even though the bills under debate could resuscitate the patient (the economy) back to health – behaving like an irresponsible, immature child who is sulking over the snub on the discussion on FDI in multi brand retail. It couldn’t care about what the nation wants in Parliament. In fact, its sole objective is politics and to make sure the duly elected government of the day is hobbled from performing.

We haven’t heard of any specific opposition the BJP has per se with these bills. The bills have gone through standing committees no doubt in which the BJP must have had a chance to express its viewpoints and attempt to build a consensus. It is likely the Government would have accepted many, if not all, of these viewpoints. If the bill is now ready to be placed in Parliament and passed, how can a scuffle on another issue block the passage of these bills? A responsible, mature person knows how to compartmentalize issues. A disagreement over one issue does not stop him from working with the other person. This is not a choice that he gets to make. He is obligated to work with the other. If he doesn’t work with the other person, he will be doing disservice to the people. It’s that simple.

The BJP also won’t allow the Executive to perform. It has questioned the enabling policy decision of FDI in multi-brand retail on the back of some unsustainable, political reasons. In the past it had blocked the appointment of the NCTC – though it was being set up as ordained under the Act passed by Parliament with the support of the BJP itself – under the pretext of federalism. Now it has objected to the appointment of Sinha as CBI chief, for some controversy 16 years back. Sinha is known to be an upright officer and has served the country in various capacities including handling graft in an earlier stint in the CBI. (the online portal of the India Today group – which has no love for the Congress) says that Sinha is a soft spoken officer with remarkable administrative acumen. The Patna HC indictment that the BJP referred to was in a case of corruption against Laloo in which Sinha recused himself because he came from the same state (Bihar). He was not  corrupt. If he was corrupt, he would have stayed on and tried to help Laloo. If he recused himself and earned the ire of the HC, its for the HC to answer why it was upset, not for Sinha. But for the BJP, Sinha is just a little foot soldier. The target is the Congress, not Sinha.

The BJP in any case is seeing its grand plot unraveling. The 2G “scam” has exploded in its face. Now with its leader and head of PAC, Murli Manohar Joshi being charged with an attempt to influence the report of the CAG (there has been enough speculation about the CAG cosying up to the BJP to secure a future ministerial posting under an NDA government), there is egg on the BJP’s face. The Government’s push towards cash transfers is another Executive decision that the BJP is mortally afraid of. When people get cash in their bank accounts at the end of every month, they are bound to vote for the party that made that happen. The BJP is suddenly finding its grand plans all coming unstuck. The only way it knows to stop this tide is to block Parliament. And the Executive.

It would help if the BJP focused more on a positive agenda, rather than pulling someone else down in a crabby way. The people would want to hear their views on FDI. What is the real reason they are opposed to FDI in retail? What is their plan for faster economic growth? How will they create more jobs? What kind of power policy do they support (since they oppose Kudankulam). Like it happens in America, we want to have a debate on specific points that concern development, not those aimed at scoring political brownie points.

The real truth is that the BJP is desperate. It will do anything and everything to stop the Parliament and Executive from functioning. As for its concern for the nation, the less said the better.

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