Increase in disconnect between people and parliamentarians, feels constitutional expert
Geetanjali Minhas | January 4, 2016 | Mumbai
Coming down heavily on the frequent disruptions witnessed in the recently concluded winter session of parliament, especially the Rajya Sabha, constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap said that there should be strict disciplinary action against unruly MPs.
The former secretary general of lok sabha was speaking at a symposium on 'Parliamentary Democracy: the challenges of negative politics' organised by Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a Mumbai-based think tank last week.
He said that parliament functions on debate and discussion, but these days the opposition has made it their religion and right to disrupt it.
“This culture was earlier initiated by those in power, who started declaring opposition as communal and untouchable. The retaliatory culture came to a limit when opposition decided to destabilise the government so that it is not able to work. This brought vote bank politics right inside the parliament”, he added.
Pointing that there was an acute crisis of purposelessness in Congress, he said that if presiding officers go by the rule book and did not frequently adjourn the house and took disciplinary action against agitating parliamentarians, everything would get sorted out. “Through my past experience I can tell you that acrimony and unruly behaviour would stop immediately as no MP would want his daily allowances to be cut. The government cannot give up its responsibility to run parliament in an orderly manner” he said.
"Right now, 70 percent of the elected representatives are elected by minority of votes (more against than in favour of them) and when they land in parliament, politics of vote- bank overpowers their mindset. This leads to frequent pandemonium in parliament," he said.
Kashyap was also member of the national commission to review the working of constitution, and cautioned on the increasing number of parliamentarians with criminal background since the last three Lok Sabha elections. This is leading to an increase in disconnect between people and parliamentarians.
He also asked for amendment in the Representation of the People's Act, 1951, to facilitate smooth functioning of parliament by ensuring that elected MPs rise above vote-bank politics.
According to him, due to a massive mandate, failure is not an option before the present government. “If the present government headed by Modiji fails...I shudder to think of the consequences...we might be headed towards anarchic situations...people will lose faith in democracy, freedom and rule of law” he said.
Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, national vice-president of BJP and director general of rambhau mhalgi prabodhini said that the culture of dynastic politics in the country is unfortunately credited to Congress. “All the four prime ministers from the Gandhi family were similar in their approach; they all exploited people of the country and exerted power. Even today, the country’s main opposing party has been behaving irresponsibly by questioning people’s faith in the ruling government. This is a challenge not just for government but for the entire country and we will have to be vigilant of it”, he said.
He called for having an ‘Elected Representative Watch’ for rating and feedback on the performance of those elected by people’s mandate.
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