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  Opinion   Edit  21 Jul 2023  AA Edit | Oppostion has right to protest, but let Parliament be productive

AA Edit | Oppostion has right to protest, but let Parliament be productive

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jul 22, 2023, 12:24 am IST
Updated : Jul 22, 2023, 12:24 am IST

But in the end, politics should not be of, for and by the politician, or the political party.

Opposition members display placards in front of the Speaker's chair in a protest in the Lok Sabha over the Manipur issue, during the Monsoon session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, July 21, 2023. (PTI Photo)
 Opposition members display placards in front of the Speaker's chair in a protest in the Lok Sabha over the Manipur issue, during the Monsoon session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Friday, July 21, 2023. (PTI Photo)

In an election year, it is hard to expect anything other than hard-nosed and pragmatic election-focused thoughts, words and actions from any political leader or party. With the national battlelines for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections set between INDIA and NDA, the two main alliances, with a handful of parties still outside both, business is bound to be all about posturing, optics, arm-twisting rivals and a lot of showmanship, as well as one-upmanship, in Parliament’s Monsoon Session.

But in the end, politics should not be of, for and by the politician, or the political party. And the people of India, above all, would like to have a productive session of both Houses, witnessed and marked by reasonable and serious discussions about policy, making and amending laws, and debates on crucial issues that matter to them.

The biggest issue ahead of the commencement of business in Parliament was Manipur, and reading the mood of the people of the country, and the Opposition, the Prime Minister tried to address the deep anger over the unabated violence in the northeastern state, especially the incident in which two women were heinously paraded naked by a criminal mob.

Mr Narendra Modi said he was “pained” and “angered” and promised to ensure that the law acts with its fullest force to ensure swift justice. He described the abuse as a “shameful act” that has “deeply affected and shamed” over 140 crore Indians.

“My heart is full of pain and anger,” he told the media, amid criticism by Opposition parties for not speaking about it. “What has happened to these daughters of Manipur can never be forgiven,” he said, hoping it could set the tone for a productive session.

But despite the government’s assurance about taking steps such that a debate can take place on the Manipur issue, both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha failed to transact any business on Day 2, even as the Opposition members created a ruckus.

While each and every well-meaning citizen should be feeling ashamed and enraged over Manipur, they also want the problem to be addressed through a disciplined discussion, not slogan-shouting and walkouts, much less a washout of the parliamentary session.

Of course, in their course of action, be it sloganeering or keeping Manipur in the forefront of national attention, the Opposition is both within its rights and doing the correct thing, including perhaps getting the first day adjourned without any business being transacted.

In his demand, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has demanded the sacking of Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh and the imposition of President’s Rule in the northeastern state, an ironic reversal of recent circumstances, seeing as it is the Opposition seeking the dismissal of a state government this time. Even if it is a BJP-ruled state today, the tables could turn if the government did the same in another state, on almost the same issue — uncontrolled mob violence.

Saying that “humanity died in Manipur”, Mr Kharge has demanded Mr Modi speak about the ethnic violence-hit state in Parliament, and tell the nation what actually happened. It is a fair demand and perhaps it would happen.

But it would be best if each one of them spoke in the House and allowed the other side to speak, too, and give the people what they need — a responsible, responsive and productive Parliament.

Tags: manipur violence, aa edit, parliament monsoon session