Friday, February 14, 2014

Andhra MPs’ delinquent behaviour shames parliament, country

New Delhi: Parliament and the nation were stunned by Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal’s irresponsible and delinquent behaviour in the Lok Sabha on Thursday when he used a pepper spray and spewed it all around, causing panic and extreme discomfort to members in the chamber, and for triggering a commotion. The Congress-led UPA government used this is a smokescreen to introduce the contentious Telangana Bill in the House. It was the most unparliamentary scene witnessed in recent times.

Boycott and disruptions have become part of parliamentary procedure in the last five years. But Lagadapati’s use of pepper spray crossed bounds of impropriety and verged on the criminal because the spray hurt people around. Telugu Desam Party’s Vengopal Reddy added to the mayhem by breaking the glass of the Table in the House and broke the mike of the secretary-general of Lok Sabha.

Lagadapati meant to use it as a weapon of dissent and protest. This was juvenile delinquency on the part of the honourable member of parliament. He would not argue against the bill when it came up for discussion. He would not let it be introduced because he is opposed to it. And so did all the Seemandhra members. The Telangana MPs behaved in exactly the same objectionable manner by disrupting the House throughout last year.

The other parties are not horrified by the the behaviour of the MPs. They see it as a failure of the Congress leaders to keep their own flock together, their inability to handle the issue of Telangana with sufficient tact.

There are very few from among the opposition parties who want the errant members to be given exemplary punishment so that no one in the future breaks the decorum of the House with impunity. The opposition parties see it as failure of the Congress and they do not want any burden or obligation to be placed on the shoulders of an individual MP. This is political cynicism as usual.

The tragedy is that at this hour of national shame the political parties -- not the BJP, not the Communists, not the regional parties -- are willing to insist on strict red lines that no member should dare to cross whatever may be the political compulsions behind the expression of anger and angst through near-criminal gestures and acts.

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