The Rajya Sabha Chairman, M Venkaiah Naidu, was reduced to tears whilst admonishing members on Wednesday for their ‘sacrilegious acts’ of climbing the reporters’ table, thereby violating the House’s ‘sanctum sanctorum’. Sadly, even this did not impact on the members of the Opposition, who continued to behave in a disrespectful manner. So, confident are they that the narrative will be managed by the media on their behalf, they think nothing of thumbing their collective nose at the conventions and dignity of Parliament. Since the start of the Monsoon Session, when the Pegasus story was strategically broken to provide a burning issue against the Modi Government, there was utter chaos in both houses. In the effort to obtain tactical advantage, instead of agreeing to discuss the matter when decided by the presiding officers, the Opposition insisted on immediate adjournments. It provided the government the opportunity to rush through its business, even as individual MPs were unable to raise matters critical to their constituencies. With each minute of parliamentary functioning costing the taxpayer Rs 2.5 lakhs, it is estimated that the loss incurred due to the disturbances amounted to more than Rs 150 crores. Was it worth it for the parties struggling to dent the Modi bastion?
Has the government been timid in dealing with this disruptive politics, or is it happy to have got away without having to answer questions and debate important issues? Do the politicians believe that nobody watches proceedings in Parliament and only ‘hungama’ can draw their attention? Perhaps they should see all the videos available on YouTube of ‘historic’ speeches by Atal Behari Vajpayee, Sushma Swaraj, Narendra Modi, Mahua Moitra, Smriti Irani, Arun Jetley, Ramdas Athawale and so many others that have been viewed in the millions. In the end, enough number of people who matter arrive at their conclusions based on the arguments thus presented, instead of being impressed by downright hooliganism.
The Lok and Rajya Sabha TVs are chary of showing this behaviour to the masses in the belief that it brings down the dignity of parliament. But, it is the right of the people to see how their elected representatives behave and to decide if they like it. It may be noted that the MPs making the biggest nuisance of themselves are the ones who feel they have got the better of the BJP in their respective states. An otherwise greatly demoralised opposition is gathering around these stars in the hope that the winning ways might rub off on them. The virulence has also increased because five important state elections are due next year. Will such tactics succeed, or will the people do what the presiding officers are presently unable to do – put the nuisance makers in their proper place?