Rahul's hug and wink a mockery of democracy

Last Updated: Fri, Jul 27, 2018 12:00 hrs
Modi Rahul

A lot has been written and debated about the recent no-confidence motion in the Indian Parliament on July 20, 2018. Even more has been discussed about the behavior and antics of Rahul Gandhi.

But let us take a step back and understand what exactly transpired on Friday July 20. As per the dictionary, a motion of no-confidence is a statement or vote which states that a person(s) in a position of responsibility is no longer deemed fit to hold that position, perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel is detrimental.

These are serious charges. As a parliamentary motion, a no-confidence move tells to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in (one or more members of) the appointed government. A no-confidence motion is directed against the cabinet and if it is supported by most of the members of the Parliament (Lok Sabha in the case of India), the Government is bound to vacate the office. Thus, raising a no-confidence motion is a serious move which must be handled with decorum, responsibility and maturity.

In contrast, Friday’s events made a mockery of a serious practice. A no-confidence motion, when used judiciously, helps keep the spirit of democracy alive. Unfortunately, the so-called motion that happened on July 20 was instrumental in mocking the spirit of democracy. The drama that was played out on Friday was more about optics than about anything else.

The single-point agenda for the opposition was reduced to just one slogan Modi Hatao.

It is odd that in one of the most populous countries of the world there is no constructive agenda that any of the opposition parties have - no plan for poverty eradication, sanitation and health improvement, education and literacy, infrastructure development… none of this matter. The only thing that matters is that Modi should not come back to power.

It is good to oppose to the Government; indeed, it is the duty of a responsible opposition to do so. But the opposition should be fact and ideology based, not person based. Friday's events clearly showed that the so-called mahagathbandhan exists for the sole purpose of ensuring that Modi does not become the PM again. What does it say when there is a fight between all the central and regional parties on one side and a lone figure on the other (because the fight is against Narendra Modi, not against the BJP)?

Given that all these parties have an abysmal track record of governance and have been known to favour nepotism and corruption - the very fact that they are opposing Modi tooth and nail, seems to indicate that Modi is doing something right. Modi’s continued presence threatens them and so he must be removed.

Rahul Gandhi's impassioned speech included half-truths and old, tired slogans like 'suit boot ki sarkar'. By distorting and mis-representing facts, he alluded that the Defence Minister has lied to the nation about the Rafale Deal. These are serious allegations made against a democratically elected Government. Had these allegations been made by some small-time politician addressing an election rally, one could have perhaps ignored or laughed at them. But when these allegations are made by the leader of the Congress party, the man who is being projected as the next potential PM of the country – it causes irrevocable damage to the institution called the Parliament.

The Lok Sabha gets reduced to an electoral 'akhara' where the win is of the person who shouts the loudest. Specifically, with the unsubstantiated allegations over Rafale, we also cut a sorry figure in front of the French establishment and made fools of ourselves in the international media.

And how can one forget the hug and the wink? There was a no-confidence motion happening in the Lok Sabha, not a family function. Hugs are for friends and families. A wink is an informal mode of non-verbal communication. The Lok Sabha is not the place for either of them.

Decades of misrule cannot be erased by a symbolic, forced hug. If the Congress was serious about eradicating hate and replacing it with love, why is it that the victims of the 1984 massacres are still seeking justice? Why is it that the deprived and marginalized sections of the society are still dependent on 'sops' and 'quotas' more than 60 years after independence? Where was all this love when the country was being systemically looted by the earlier regimes, and the looting was justified as 'coalition compulsions'?

When the leader of a national party speaks in the Parliament, his speech should be fact and data driven. When he reduces the level of discussions to an awkwardly given hug and a sly wink, he reduces the entire proceedings to a sham. He mocks not only the democratically elected Prime Minister, he mocks the Lok Sabha and the electorate.

The low level of debate and the theatrical antics only proved that India lacks a credible Opposition and leaders who would want to make an impact for the betterment of the country. Friday, July 20 was a sad day for Indian democracy as it conclusively showed up the shallowness of some of our PM aspirants.

Aditi Kumaria Hingu is a marketing graduate from IIM Calcutta. Currently she works in the corporate sector. She comes from an army background.

Note: The views expressed in the article are of the author's and not of Sify.com.

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