Whether or not you realise it, those indulging in appalling unparliamentary conduct inside Parliament would like you to believe that they do so for your good. The determined disruptions, ugly name-calling, storming into the well of the House, brandishing childish placards, etc., dear people, is all being done in your name, for your sake. Well, if the Congress leadership has such a low opinion of the collective intelligence of the common people, it is in for a shock.
For, its boorish antics, do not endear it to anyone. Even its partisans may not want such a display of bad behaviour in the sanctum sanctorum of democracy. However, the damage it does to the health of our parliamentary democracy is immense. Such cynical abuse of the parliamentary forum for taking out one’s pique, nay hatred, for the ruling regime can only erode people’s faith in the system.
As it is, ordinary people can have nothing but contempt for their elected representatives. But when they see them live on their televisions inside the two Houses of Parliament behaving worse than rowdy and rude school children, can they be expected to have any respect for these “honourable MPs”? We think not.
The argument that the BJP while in the Opposition too had resorted to such obstructionist tactics, is wrong on two counts. One, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, at worst, is guilty of an impropriety, nothing more. No financial loss to the exchequer is caused by her action in helping the London-based Lalit Modi secure travel papers. Two, there are no serious charges against any of the Central ministers, which the ruling party might be refusing to investigate.
What do you investigate in Swaraj’s intervention with the British for travel documents for the former IPL boss? She has not denied she interceded on Lalit Modi’s behalf with the British. As for the Vyapam scam and the associated deaths, not only is its operation concentrated in Madhya Pradesh, but after the institution of a CBI probe there is not very much the government can do in the matter.
In the case of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje, her affidavit to the British supporting Lalit Modi’s case for being allowed to stay in the UK pertains to the time when she was out of power. Again, it is certainly not a case of abuse of power or even of a grave impropriety that she should be made to resign as Chief Minister.
Besides, if the Congress leadership cared to look itself in the mirror, it will find that its record in power is replete with humongous money-making scams, which leave it with zero moral authority to talk of corruption and wrongdoing. Only a couple of days ago, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat’s most trusted aide was heard negotiating with the representative of the liquor lobby the quantum of bribe — which obviously runs into crores — for fixing the excise policy. Is that the reason why Congress CMs insist on keeping duty on alcohol out of the ambit of GST?
Why, not long ago the New Delhi-based Italian wheeler-dealer, one Ottavio Quattrocchi, was able to rake in big bucks in fertilizer deals allegedly thanks to his close friendship with Sonia Gandhi. That was till Sanjay Gandhi was around. But once Sanjay died and Rajiv Gandhi was wheeled out — and Sonia Gandhi at long last deigned to acquire Indian citizenship — Mr Q mysteriously became the primary agent for every big deal in Delhi, especially relating to defence purchases.
From the way the Congress government protected Quattrocchi in the Bofors scam, it only strengthened the charge that he shared the loot as per an arrangement with a particular family back in Italy. Small wonder then the fortunes of that little-discussed family in Orbassano, Turin, have changed so much that it is now widely reckoned to be the wealthiest in the region.
The point is that the Congress, of all parties, has no moral right to throw mud at others. Because it is the biggest criminal and corrupt enterprise that we know of. The Gandhis talking of corruption sounds worse than the devil quoting the scriptures. Besides, none of the cases for which they insist on the resignations of BJP ministers involves even a paise in bribe.
Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan needs to be commended for reminding the members that she is duly empowered to take disciplinary action against those indulging in persistent unruly behaviour. The presiding officers in both Houses ought to be alive to the fact that they are the custodians of the honour and dignity of Parliament. If they continue to take the path of least resistance, history may not be forgiving for their being mute spectators to the destruction of the hallowed parliamentary traditions. The presiding officers must draw a red line and sternly warn members that its breach would attract strict disciplinary action. Parliament cannot be held to ransom merely because a section of the Opposition has got into its head that the only way it can win back power is to behave like juvenile miscreants. It is unbecoming of hon’ble MPs.
Meanwhile, it says a lot about the intellectual bankruptcy of the left that Sitaram Yechury, the newly-minted boss of the CPI(M), has abandoned Marx and Lenin and found himself new path-finders in Soniaji and Rahulji. At least, his predecessor, Prakash Karat, had better sense than to play a camp follower of the decadent and decrepit Congress leadership.
WHEN WITHOUT FACTS, SHOUT AND SCREAM LOUD
The desperation of the Congress to paint the BJP in the same hues in which it itself stands tarred before the whole nation is laughable. It makes it out as if Madhavsinh Solanki, Ashwani Kumar and Pawan Bansal were made sacrificial goats for no fault of theirs. And then goes on to argue that Sushma Swaraj’s case is on the same footing. The facts, however, are somewhat different.
As Foreign Minister in the Narasimha Rao government, Solanki gave a letter to his Swedish counterpart asking him not to disclose the names of the bribe-takers in the Bofors case, even though criminal investigations into the bribery scam were officially pending in India.
As a junior minister in the Manmohan Singh government, Kumar was in clear contempt of the Supreme Court when defying the specific court directions he sought to dictate to the CBI as to what report it should file in the coal scam in the Apex Court. As for Bansal, we have no hesitation in asserting that the CBI was completely in the wrong in not listing him as an accused in the posts-for-cash scam. His nephew ran the racket from his official bungalow as he also did from the Rail Bhawan. And Bansal himself had met the bribe-giver in Mumbai and assured him that he would get the promised charge in the Railway Board.
So, the attempt to establish equivalence in the above three cases and Swaraj’s impropriety is futile. Legally, Lalit Modi was not a fugitive, as the Congress would like you to believe. But if, as it says, he was, what did the UPA do to get him back all this time he was holed up in London? To tell the truth, zilch.