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Further Disappointment?


The Budget Session of Parliament will reconvene on 13 April, while Uttarakhand’s state budget will be presented on the same day in Gairsain. Although the purpose will be to grant approval to funding for government functioning, the focus at both venues is going to be on the hot political issues of the present times.

Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi’s recent comments on the functioning of Parliament will certainly be the focus of the Treasury Benches’ attacks in Parliament. It is quiet likely that privilege motions will be filed against him, particularly as his accusations have questioned the impartiality of the Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman. Can such insinuations be allowed to go unchallenged? Is it not a fact that this challenge to the very institution that Rahul Gandhi has been elected to under the Constitution raises a question about his legitimacy to remain an MP? This matter, hopefully, will be taken up with the required seriousness so that there are no repeats in the future and the legitimacy and authority of Parliament remains unquestioned.

The Opposition, on its part, will undoubtedly focus on the alleged use of government agencies against leaders of various parties as part of a political crusade. This is expected to generate a lot of heat, and considered debate on budget provisions is unlikely to take place.

In Uttarakhand, the ‘plight’ of the unemployed will be the opposition’s theme, particularly in the context of cancelled recruitment exams. The recent lathi-charge in Dehradun on protesting members of the ‘Berozgar Sangh’ will be milked to the maximum extent possible. Once again, important budgetary provisions will very likely be overlooked, and passed following ‘walkouts’ by the opposition.

So, are the important debates going to be held only on media platforms by persons that are neither accountable nor responsible? Or, by maverick parliamentarians in foreign universities? Will the general public be denied the opportunity to hear what the elected representatives have to contribute to parliamentary functioning; to obtain their views on issues of importance to the nation? How are they to judge whether the sitting MP or MLA is worthy of being re-elected? An informed discussion would also educate citizens on the intricacies of democracy and governance. Sessions are increasingly becoming truncated in recent times just because parties, be they in power or in the opposition, seem interested only in pushing incendiary issues, probably in the belief that the public lacks the attention span for anything else. Will the coming sessions belie this assessment?