The In-House Circus

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post

Subhro Sen, EMBA 2015-18, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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Back in school, our Civics books taught us, that the Parliament is a great institution, where distinguished representatives of the people, were elected by the people and sent to work for the people. The reality, however, is slightly different.

Cut to the present. The Parliamentarians have made a circus out of this institution by holding placards and shouting slogans inside the House. Clearly they are more interested in playing to the gallery of television reporters, than they are in working for the people.

It was estimated back in 2012 by the then parliamentary Affairs Minister Mr. Pawan Bansal, that If we take into account the total annual expenditure on Parliament, then each minute of running the House costs Rs.2.5 lakh. At this estimate, a 15 day session costs a whooping Rs.180 crores to the public exchequer. Who pays for this colossal waste?

Twelve out of the fifteen days of this monsoon session was wasted in sloganeering and disruption by the main Opposition party. With only 3 days remaining, they finally agree to a debate. But when they did, all hell broke loose. What followed was unprecedented in the 69 year old democracy. The leaders of the treasury and the opposition benches exchanged heated personal barbs, as their party men howled and sneered at the opponent speaker.  Some of the most distinguished and honoured names of Indian politics, stooped to new lows. They dragged in each other’s families and even the dead were not spared. The nation watched in awe as its elected representatives bayed for each other’s blood.

This is not a first for the Indian Parliament. In the past, we have had instances where Parliamentarians threw around cash, which they were offered for voting in favour of a motion. The Constitution of India, under Article 105, guarantees that no Member of Parliament can be held responsible by a court of law for their speech and action inside the House. Never mind their educational qualifications, all of them seem to have memorized this one Article.

In a recent development, over forty thousand citizens have signed an on-line petition condemning this paralysis and colossal waste. This includes some of the foremost corporate leaders and medical practitioners of the country. When this development was reported by the media, the main Opposition party started crying foul. They accused the petitioners of being in an unholy nexus with the government. Some of them went a step further, and said that the Parliament should be left to the Parliamentarians. It exposes the arrogance of our elected representatives. They are yet to come to terms with the fact that India has changed. They can no longer get away with making hollow promises before elections and conveniently forgetting them later. Today, even the Prime Minister is being criticized for selling false dreams.

Wake up honorable Parliamentarians. India is watching. Mend your ways before you go extinct.

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