The proceedings of Parliament are telecast so that the people can see for themselves what takes place there in their name. Those who take time out to watch must surely be disappointed by the chaos that generally prevails when politically significant matters are discussed. And, at the time of important but otherwise ‘boring’ legislation, the absence of interest and the scarce presence of members are patently evident. Who do the Members think they are impressing when they behave worse than unruly schoolboys? Do they not insult the intelligence of the general public when they act as though such behaviour would be appreciated? The first two days of the current Monsoon Session of Parliament, too, have witnessed derailment of proceedings owing to the ‘timely’ break of the Pegasus story.
A new phenomenon has been the unwillingness among the Opposition Benches to hear the Government’s response to their allegations. This spoiled brat behaviour, which has been encouraged by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, is disrespectful to the very institution they draw all their power and status from. They have not drawn the necessary lessons even from the repeated defeats at the hustings. Any hope the people might have of hearing informed and inspiring debates, that help them decide which leaders are worthy of their trust, are completely dashed. And it is not that all that takes place in the Lok and Rajya Sabhas is not directly connected to the people’s everyday existence. The Covid-19 pandemic, for instance, is an issue that needs to be thoroughly discussed, as there is still much confusion about how the crisis is to be tackled. Obtaining people’s cooperation is very important if a nuanced approach is to be adopted and that can only happen if a non-partisan consensus is arrived at.
The opposition parties must also understand that the Government is more than happy to allow such antics in Parliament as it is let off the hook even in matters that could put it in the dock. The Treasury Benches might pretend to be shocked and dismayed by the Opposition’s behaviour, but they are happy to get their agenda implemented without real challenge. That, however, is not good for the nation as it fails to ensure accountability on the part of those who hold the reins of power. Sometimes, even a good law can be made excellent through intelligent interventions by its detractors. In the light of all that, the disruptive behaviour of the opposition seems entirely inexplicable.