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Legislature Sidelined


It is shocking, to say the least, that the Winter Session of the Uttarakhand Assembly wrapped up in two days. In fact, the total number of sittings in a year is much less than the required number. Those who should be most concerned are the legislators because it is their power that is being thus curtailed, giving the executive wing the freedom to function in a manner closer to the ‘presidential’ system.

It is not enough to say that there was not sufficient business to justify the required number of sittings. That would imply that Uttarakhand has become the ideal state with everything functioning perfectly and nothing bothering the citizenry. But that is certainly not the case – there are numerous matters that not only need to be highlighted but also debated. Of what use is the ‘chintan’ culture if it does not exist among the very people specifically elected to do that job? Even the ‘chintan shivir’ for the bureaucrats lasted longer!

All MLAs, not just of the opposition, should know that their ability to make a political impact and take care of their constituencies’ interests is limited by such actions. It has been seen that many legislators spend their entire tenure sitting in the back benches, rarely getting the opportunity to raise issues relevant to them.

There were important matters that needed to be raised, as declared by the Opposition. There are, for instance, all kinds of theories floating about regarding the Vantara Resort murder, which the government should have been particularly interested in clarifying. Even if the bills that were passed had support from all sections of the House, were they not important enough to deserve an extensive discussion? Is the state going to go down the road of governance by fiat?

The prominent leaders among the ruling party and the opposition should know that those who excel in legislative debates have a much higher chance of not only making a long lasting impression on the electorate, but also achieving high office. It is only during discussions on hotly contested issues that the inner reality of a genuine ‘leader’ comes to the fore. Any leader who wishes to remain in office should seek such opportunities, instead of being rendered complacent by the agreeableness of fawning coteries. It is truly surprising that the opposition has acquiesced so tamely to the truncating of the session. Is the Congress planning to surrender space through this attitude to some more ambitious outfit of the future like the AAP?