How long will PM Modi let Legislative pandemonium rule?

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 11, 2015 16:02 hrs

Many supporters of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are absolutely astounded as to how the Lok Sabha is being disrupted day in and day out without any work being done and any bills being passed. Modi seems to have zero control.

Now doesn't the BJP have a good 280 seats for a comfortable majority in the Lok Sabha? Doesn't the NDA have a whopping 337 seats, which is more than 60% of the House? And how can a party which has a mere 8% seats counter the remaining 92%.

More importantly, how can just 8% of the Lok Sabha hold the whole nation to ransom like this? There are many smaller but critical Bills which all the parties are interested in passing. Most of the Chief Ministers and political parties are in favour of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill and yet it is nowhere near being passed.

Intolerance. Vendetta. A BJP MP criticizing the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. It seems just about anything can be used as an excuse to halt proceedings in Parliament.
More importantly, what stops Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan from suspending unruly MPs again and again till a case is made for their outright dismissal? It has happened in the past hasn't it?

All you have to do is suspend the miniscule amount of Congress MPs and then pass all the Bills you want. So why is Modi fiddling while Parliament is stalling very much like Nero did when Rome was burning.

The simple answer is in two words: Rajya Sabha.

To pass any Bill in the Rajya Sabha, the BJP has just 20% share and hence it will need support of all allies and also some opposition parties too for good measure. If the BJP plays its cards wrong, then each and every Bill can be defeated in the Rajya Sabha.

But then isn't the Congress also in a minority in the Rajya Sabha you may well ask. It has just 27% of share in Rajya Sabha, so what stops the remaining 73% from uniting and passing Bills?

Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party has indicated that it will support the BJP and even Nitish Kumar's RJD are in favour of Bills like the GST. Parties like the ADMK and BJD can also give issue based support.

However the problem is in the way the Rajya Sabha is run.

The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is Vice President Hamid Ansari. Ansari is a UPA appointee and grand-nephew of Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, who was once Congress President.
The concept of neutrality is a myth in India.

The Deputy Chairman is PJ Kurien of the Congress.

The Leader of the Opposition is Ghulam Nabi Azad also of the Congress.

And the Congress also happens to be the single-largest party. As you can see, the Congress has a stranglehold over the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha and even House Leader Arun Jaitley is powerless to do anything.

It is this weakness that the Congress is exploiting. The Congress in the Lok Sabha is a pygmy, but this pygmy is standing on the shoulders of the relatively taller presence in the Rajya Sabha to become a giant.

So the question is: Can the Congress disrupt Parliament all the way to 2019?

The answer is a resounding no.

At best they can do it till 2016 end.

Why you may ask.

Well, despite the Bihar reversal, by 2016 end, the Congress and BJP will switch roles and the latter will emerge as the single largest party. The killer punch will come in 2017 when the BJP will for the first time get its own Vice President and hence the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Modi has good control over the Electoral College and needs the support of just a few more parties to triumph totally. Modi can afford to antagonize the Congress but will continue to make amends with other parties to have its own President and Vice President.

Another big factor is that the NDA has just about half the seats in a joint house of Parliament. That means just a few NDA allies can hold Modi hostage when the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha comes together.

Again, 2016-17 is a time when he'll get more leverage.

So what all this means is that the Congress can go all guns blazing till 2016 end. In cricketing parlance, they can continue to hit fours and sixes for one more year. But by 2017, they will lose all their wickets. That's when the BJP innings will start!

The Congress is making a grave error. From 2014 they should have started building their party from scratch and developing the next rung of leadership. Instead of keeping their wickets intact and going for the kill in 2019, they've decided to go for broke in 2015-16.

Also here's the main thing. Come December 19 and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son and deputy Rahul will have to stand in court as the accused. They will be cross-examined (in one can expect full filmy style) by the inimitable BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. That itself will be humiliating for the Dynasty and its supporters.

In case they are convicted, they will be ejected from the Lok Sabha immediately. (Another session disrupted then?) If they are not, Swamy will take them to the High Court and then the Supreme Court. Both the Gandhis have a long haul ahead of them and their aura will be fully shattered by the end of it.

What's more Sonia's name had cropped up in Choppergate and the person who took her name was British arms consultant Christian Michel who was recently located in Dubai and extradition proceedings are on.

It's like a domino. When one falls, so do the rest! Sonia's election case also came up in the Allahabad High Court and Rahul faces defamation cases. Sonia's name came in the list of richest politicians of the world in Business Insider website.

There are Robert Vadra's land dealings and Priyanka Vadra's multiple DINs. There are other Congress leaders too. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is embroiled in money laundering and disproportionate assets cases.

Sachin Pilot and Ashok Gehlot's names have come up in the ambulance scam. Even sympathizers like Teesta Setalvad and NDTV are facing the heat.

Dawood Ibrahim is being squeezed and it was a Congress leader from Maharashtra who helped him escape. Even Lalit Modi of IPLGate has talked more Congress than BJP. P Chidambaram, Digvijay Singh, Jagdish Tytler, Shashi Tharoor are all being investigated for something or the other.

The question to be asked is: For how long can the Congress run away from all of this? In 1977, the Janata Party started squabbling from Day 1 and that's how Indira Gandhi made a comeback in 1980.

That is not the case this time. The Congress is involved in some really lengthy legal battles and shouting in the Parliament isn't anywhere near the solution.

The Congress policy of disrupting the Lok Sabha will pay rich dividends in the short run and be disastrous in the long term. The truth is that the Grand Old Party is totally ceding space to Modi for the 2017-19 Parliamentary sessions and is making absolutely no moves to secure its own future.

The Congress can run for some time, but they can't hide forever.

So till then sit back and grab some popcorn and watch Congress leaders on the warpath day in and day out and BJP leaders squirming in Parliament.