“Where is award-wapsi now? The whole intolerance debate was a conspiracy which was timed around the Bihar polls,” said Santishree Pandit, Professor at the University of Pune. She was talking at a symposium organised in Mumbai on “Parliamentary Democracy: The challenges of negative politics” organised by Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini. Subhash Kashyap, a renowned authority on constitutional law, presided over the symposium. He lamented that the time spent by the Parliament in passing bills had reduced from 50% till the 1960s to 12-17% recently. On the background of the country’s political situation, he predicted that if Narendra Modi failed, there would be anarchy in the country.
Pandit said the BJP will now need to build its support base among the civil society to keep earning political success in the country. While speaking at the symposium, BJP’s national vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said that Congress’ commitment to democracy was always questionable.
“Why is there so much talk of intolerance now? Is it that soon after Narendra Modi was elected, we Indians have become intolerant overnight like robots?” she asked, adding that a Muslim in India was far better than a Hindu in Jammu and Kashmir.
She said that India’s tradition has always been of acceptance and not tolerance. “In Indian tradition, we have never tolerated. But we have accepted. Take the examples of Gautam Buddha, the Parsis and the Jews. We don’t discriminate, we assimilate. Our cultural pluralism begins with our own culture.”
Expressing displeasure about the stalling of the recent parliamentary session by the Congress, Sahasrabuddhe said that the party has been facing crisis of purpose for quite some time now. “Starting from Nehru to Sonia Gandhi, the party’s commitment towards democracy has always been questionable,” he said. Citing examples about Nehru’s unhappiness over the election of Purushottamdas Tandon and Subhashchandra Bose as Congress presidents, he said the legacy was continued by his daughter. “It was during her tenure that the most undesirable practice of having the same person as the Prime Minister and the Congress chief began. Later, Sonia Gandhi created the dual centre of power,” he said.
Recalling examples of legislators like Rambhau Mhalgi who used to present a report of their work every year, he said it was time for the society and the media to encourage constructive parliamentarians. He blamed the media for playing an active role in the recent incidents reflecting “politics of negativism” when the Parliament was stalled by the Congress. M.R. Venkatesh, author of the book “Dr. Manmohan Singh – A Decade of Decay”, said Congress was nothing but a terrorist organisation holding the Parliament to ransom over the National Herald issue.