There were two back to back primetime debates happening yesterday which would have caught anyone’s attention. Both the themes are standard in today’s polity – Modi bashing and Telangana, though Telangana’s elevation to national level in debating panels is a bit hard to see.
Now, coming to the hard facts. Take the issue regarding Modi. The US Ambassador to India has finally made up her mind to meet Narendra Modi, whom US avoided religiously till today on the name of the pogrom in Godhra in 2002. Congress terms it as a blot against him from which he can never come out. We have scenes like Indian Members of Parliament sending a representation recommending the President of America to continue the ban on Modi and yesterday’s Foreign Minister’s statement comparing it with the Nazi massacres. Enough of the hypocrisy. The situation yesterday during the debate is this – BJP gloating over the allowance and Congress shocked at the acceptance. The panelist, Arnab Goswami asked both SP and Congress the same thing – why did you not recommend your leaders for the recent riots in Muzaffarnagar and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Congress answer is a bit intriguing. Because he is the Prime Minister of India. I didn’t understand this bit. I am not saying the Prime Minister is involved. By law, he can be implicated only through Yamashita Doctrine. But the argument – he is inviolable since he is the Prime Minister. What if Rajiv Gandhi was not been the Prime Minister then? Then comes the argument of a US diplomat who hasn’t got the guts to state it as the official line – It’s ridiculous to be on the wrong side of someone who is slated to be the head of one of the most powerful countries. When asked why there was a change in the tone, the answer was most surprising – US was getting ready to attack Iraq. In order to ensure that the Muslim world will not be antagonized by this, they simply made a devil out of Modi. So, this hasn’t got anything to do with the riots or Gujarat or something, it’s plain global geopolitics. There are a few fundamental questions I have got over this –
1. Why should an Indian, whoever it is, should recommend rejection of VISA to another Indian, again whoever it is, for a foreign country? Is it not an internal matter of the country? What takes a precedence – Indian identity or Party politics? This is applicable to people both opposing and accepting Modi
2. The SIT gave Modi a clean chit and Indian Government didn’t revoke his passport. That means he is not proven guilty according to Indian law. Does considering America’s endorsement as final means Indian Law and Indian Government are not to be trusted with the welfare of India?
3. People tend to forget that the incident happened in a railway station. Do we have any information regarding preventive/corrective action taken by the Railway Department – Station Master and other administration and the Railway Protection Force regarding this incident? If it is taken, what is it and if not taken, why? Either case, how is the Chief Minister of Gujarat responsible for the incident and not the Railway Minister of India, who is one of the biggest voices today against Modi?
Next one, the one over Telangana. This is the current background – six MPs of Congress sign a no-confidence motion against their own government for tabling the bill over Telangana. Congress is currently facing problems in running the Parliament due to both the factions being at each other’s throats whenever a session is in place, either in Andhra assembly or in Delhi. It desperately wants some bills to be passed and when BJP asked to correct it’s own flock before charging at any one, only then, Congress took action.
Below is how the argument went over –
Seemandhra – We rejected the bill by voice vote in the assembly
Telangana – Well, before rejecting, the CM didn’t make his decision public before his cabinet
Seemandhra – We will lose out on opportunities and resources
Telangana – What you looted is enough
and so on.
There were faults from every side – Telangana politicians, for not presenting their case in a way agreeable to all, Seemandhra people, reneging on the promises made in the manifesto, Congress, on treating this more as an electoral issue and mismanaging the issue completely, BJP, not being proactively involved. There was no sane voice in the debate anywhere. Yes, the breach is unsurmountable and if the state is split, one of the both is going to lose for sure. But that is not the end. Since Andhra is the perceived loser, none of those raised the point what should be extracted in return from both Telangana and the Centre. Now the situation is so that no one is interested in the merits of the case but majority is in support of giving the state just to solve a perpetual headache. Whatever the ground reality is, history says, who ever said separate Telangana won with a thumping majority. That means there is a problem somewhere, whether actual or perceived. No one tried to address it, but always tried to suppress or bypass.
Now, these are the questions I have got over the current episode –
1. A legislator is a paid government servant. His duty is to attend the assembly or parliament for a specific duration and to pass the bills slated for that session. If he doesn’t attend the specified number of sessions or pass the specified number of bills, is there any penalty for that?
2. An act of perjury can be initiated against one who lies under oath in a court of law. Why is the same not applicable with regard to an election manifesto?
3. Because of Telangana, the biggest fallacy of democracy is being proved – Democracy is not the rule of the people, but the rule of the majority and suppression of minority voice if it turns against the majority. In this case, there is a recourse. But what if there is no such recourse?
4. Can a bill be passed in an assembly without consulting the cabinet? On the same line, can a bill be presented in a higher legislature for acceptance if it is legal to do so even if it is rejected in a lower legislature?