India achieves unique distinction with PM sitting on fast to protest

A new chapter has been written in the history of  Indian Parliament and democratic set up  when Prime Minister Narendra Modi  sat on one day  fast along with has colleagues  because  the second part of the budget session of Parliament was adjourned without transacting any  business  because of unruly scenes  with members walking into the well of the House with banners and shouting slogans.

It was unique because the responsibility of running Parliament  is the responsibility of the ruling party  and Prime Minister is leader  of the House in Lok Sabha. The question to be asked is did the ruling party  make any effort to reach out  to the opposition  to end the deadlock . Why all-party meeting  was not called. Lok Sabha which adopted the Finance bill without debate  and amidst noise  why no confidence  motion could be taken up. It is also no secret  that there was no chance of  motion being carried as ruling party has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha.

More so in the last  few days  protest was being carried out by AIDMK  members  on issue of setting up Kaveri Water Board as ordered by the Supreme Court. AIDMK  is a party which is an ally of the ruling party. As  such an impression is being created  that BJP did not want a discussion on issues like PNB – Neerav Modi scam, communal riots, distress among farmers  and other issues agitating  the opposition—a joke was made when Chief Minister of Delhi  Kejriwal sat on a fast at India Gate, one wonders  in what category a fast by Prime Minister falls as is the most powerful person in India.

There is no denial that there is total breakdown of dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition which in turn has made it difficult for Parliament to function. If  Parliament stops working one  wonders what kind of democracy  will be running. In the present situation a bitter war has started between the ruling party and opposing parties,  particularly the main opposition party, Congress.  Instead of a debate on issues affecting  the nation abuse has become the order of the day.

While President of BJP Amit Shah  compared opposition leaders  to a group of animals  and insects, Congress leaders are guilty of calling  Prime Minister “Maut Ka Saudagar” and other names. There are also serious attempts to divide  voters on communal lines. If the happenings around  Ram Navami are any indication,  communal clashes  between different communities  cannot be ruled out. The manner in which the festival was observed  by  carrying weapons and shouting provocative slogans  in areas dominated by minorities  is any  indication of what is to follow, it would be a sad day as we would  see rioting instead of a debate between political parties.

In such a volatile situation Election Commission will have to play a vital role  by keeping a check on State  political parties to ensure that they campaign  as per rules and  avoid carrying out communal  propaganda. The commission  will be effective is it acts firmly and fairly in dealing with all issues. The extent of volatile  atmosphere  prevailing can be judged by the fact that rape and murder of an eight year old  girl has been politicalised. BJP is part of coalition Government  in Jammu and Kashmir  with PDP but it has not prevented two of its Ministers from joining the  protest against  investigation of the case by Crime  Branch of  State police. The agitation is being carried  out by a local outfit Hindu Samiti which has been carrying out protest marches with carrying national flags and shouting slogans like “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. One wonders why there is sympathy for those accused of rape and murder instead of poor girl who was killed in such a brutal manner.

One can ask protesters why they are stopping filing of charge sheet against the accused.  After all the case will be decided by judiciary which can not be accused of acting  in a partisan manner. Giving protection to accused is becoming a  fashion as in U.P a powerful member of  State Assembly  has not been arrested even though  he has been accused of rape  and his brother of attacking father  of the girl  while in custody as a result of which he died.

One wonders what has happened to BJP’s promise of  maintaining law and order   while  contesting  the poll. There is urgent need to implement laws in fair manner, otherwise making law against rape stringent will not help.

      (Brij Bhardwaj is a veteran journalist and commentator)