There’s a pattern to
opposition disruptions in Parliament: Raise issue, stall House,
The Print, July 26, 2018
If people don’t
remember why the Budget session of Parliament was a washout —
like many others in the past — don’t blame it on the amnesia
that politicians believe Indian voters suffer from. Even the
Congress, the principal disrupter, may not remember it.
The opposition parties, especially the Congress, have been
disrupting the proceedings of Parliament on issues that they
tend to forget right after the session gets over. Or so it seems
from the long list of issues they abandoned once live telecast
of proceedings is over.
Remember the issues that resulted in logjams in the Budget and
monsoon sessions of Parliament in 2015? One of them was the
opposition parties’ demand for the resignation of union minister
Nitin Gadkari following a CAG report that alleged irregularities
in extending loans to Purti group.
“Chicken curry na mutton curry, istifa do Gadkari” was the
slogan of Congress parliamentarians during the Budget session.
The monsoon session that year was washed out too, as an
unrelenting opposition demanded the resignations of external
affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan chief minister
Vasundhara Raje (for allegedly helping former IPL czar Lalit
Modi), and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan
(for the alleged Vyapam scam).
Once these sessions were over, the opposition parties got back
to their normal business, and so did the union ministers and
chief ministers in question.
The Budget session of Parliament in 2016 saw the opposition
disrupting proceedings over the alleged multi-crore scam in the
state-run Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC). When was
the last time you heard an opposition leader speak about the
In the winter session that year, opposition parties stalled the
proceedings for days, demanding an explanation from Prime
Minister Narendra Modi on demonetisation, alleging that over a
hundred people had died in queues outside banks in the ensuing
scramble for cash. They continued to target the government over
demonetisation in the first half of the Budget session 2017, but
were much more accommodative subsequently, humbled by the
results of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.
Some sessions have been marked by disruptions that seemed to be
mutually convenient. So when the opposition raised questions
about the Rafale deal, the treasury benches responded with barbs
about Bofors or AgustaWestland. Congressmen have since moved
Parliamentary disruptions always trigger a blame-game between
the government and the opposition parties. The opposition says
it’s the government’s job to ensure the smooth functioning of
Parliament, reminding the BJP of the argument it offered to
defend its disruptive tactics while in opposition. Except for
early 2016, when the then parliamentary affairs minister
Venkaiah Naidu drove down to 10, Janpath to meet Sonia Gandhi to
seek her party’s support for the GST bill, strategists of the
ruling party haven’t shown much initiative to take the
opposition along. It’s evident this time, too, as the government
sent Vijay Goel, a junior minister, to meet former Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh to seek his support for the smooth
functioning of Parliament.
So when the monsoon session of Parliament commences Wednesday,
brace yourself for yet another round of disruptions, with lot
many new issues coming up.
Some die-hard optimists may still hope to see Congress president
Rahul Gandhi cause an “earthquake” on the issue of
demonetisation, a promise he made in December 2016, or force
Prime Minister Narendra Modi to leave the Lok Sabha if he
(Gandhi) is allowed to speak for 15 minutes, another claim he
made this April. These optimists, however, may be in for
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