Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Congress flounders, BJP provides a crutch over Lokpal in Rajya Sabha

The problem with Congress party and its government is that it traps itself in a bureaucratic tangle, and its leaders believe sincerely that what they are doing is the right thing and they are aghast that others do not see the rightness of what they are doing, when in reality it is apparent to everyone except the Congressmen that what they are doing is stupid. The best example is to be seen in the manner that Congress government managers brought the Lokpal and Lokayukta bill with an amendment on the penultimate day of the Budget session on Monday. It came up for consideration on Monday evening, at about five. Even before minister of state for parliamentary affairs V.Narayanasamy began to make his closing remarks on the bill which was interrupted at midnight on December 29, 2011,Naresh Agarwal of Samajwadi Party moves a motion asking for a select committee and also gives out the names of those who should constitute the committee. What he had done seems quite according to rules because the rules permit any member to moot a select committee. The government pretends that the idea of a select committee was not theirs.
Leader of Opposition and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley makes a polite intervention and says that the government should be straightforward and that if the government wants to send the bill to a select committee and the opposition would have no objection. That was a strange thing to say. Jaitley as opposition leader should have opposed the idea of sending the bill to the select committee with not valid reasons being cited for doing so. Either Narayanasamy or Jaitley or even Agarwal should have argued that in the light of fresh amendments mooted during the debate on December 29, 2011, it would make sense to consider those amendments at the committee level. And this could have been done on any day of the Budget session and not on the penultimate day. Somewhere the hypocrisy of the Congress, which wants to bring in the Lokpal in the belief that it would make no difference but that it can be used as a political trophy, and the hypocrisy of the BJP, which believes half-heartedly that the Lokpal is needed to fight corruption in a nominal sense, and the hypocrisy of Anna Hazare and his aides who believe that Lokpal would eliminate corruption.
Home minister Chidambaram argued naively some months ago that he does not understand as to why new amendments should be moved in Rajya Sabha by parties whose members had voted for it in Lok Sabha. Clearly, Chidambaram does not attend parliamentary democracy. The Trinamool Congress which had voted for the Lokpal in Lok Sabha can move amendments in Rajya Sabha because Rajya Sabha is not supposed to pass blindly a bill passed by the other House. The same argument should hold good for the BJP as well. The fact that certain amendments were not moved by the BJP in Lok Sabha does not mean that the BJP in Rajya Sabha cannot move fresh amendments. There is no contradiction in this. As a matter of fact it would reveal that the BJP in Rajya Sabha is doing its own thinking as a member of Rajya Sabha, which is mandated to review and pass a bill that has been passed by Lok Sabha.

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