ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Politics : Gone Awry

The six-week long deadlock between the government and the opposition which had paralysed parliament has been resolved at last after the meeting of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition on Monday in the Lok Sabha speaker’s chambers. It would now seem that there will be some semblance of discussion of the union budget for 2001-2002 before it is passed by the Lok Sabha, unlike in the case of the railway budget which was adopted by a voice vote without a debate in an unruly house. The deliberate effort to bring the functioning of parliament to a standstill was shameful, of course. It was also futile in even the pettiest, most short-term political terms.

The six-week long deadlock between the government and the opposition which had paralysed parliament has been resolved at last after the meeting of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition on Monday in the Lok Sabha speaker's chambers. It would now seem that there will be some semblance of discussion of the union budget for 2001-2002 before it is passed by the Lok Sabha, unlike in the case of the railway budget which was adopted by a voice vote without a debate in an unruly house. The deliberate effort to bring the functioning of parliament to a standstill was shameful, of course. It was also futile in even the pettiest, most short-term political terms.

While finally only the Congress with its ally, Laloo Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), in tow stuck to its position that it would not allow the Lok Sabha to function unless the government agreed to an investigation of the Tehelka scam by a joint parliamentary committee, the fact is that initially, and for quite a while, the entire opposition was a party to the deliberate disruption of parliament. Evidently there was the expectation that if the opposition could provide some credible evidence of its ability to create a political crisis by stopping parliament from functioning over a prolonged period, the ruling NDA coalition may come apart and the government may be brought down. Hence for instance the effort, at very short notice, to rig up a 'third front' with Jyoti Basu at its head. The outcome of the exercise, however, proved contrary to expectations. Rather than testing the commitment of the constituents of the NDA, it exposed the conflicting ambitions of the Congress, the principal opposition in the Lok Sabha, and other opposition groups such as the Samajwadi Party and the Left parties. And once any hope of the government being toppled was erased, the tactic of not allowing the Lok Sabha to function lost all purpose. The constituents of the would-be third front quietly reviewed their stance, leaving the Congress to carry the can. That it got pushed into this position exposed once again the quality of the Congress's present leadership.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top