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Petty politics

4 Aug. 2015 10:52 PM IST

No conscientious citizen of the country supports disruption of parliament and everybody would agree that those responsible for heckling, creating ruckus or display of banners inside the house or disrupting proceedings ought to be marshalled out and suspended. The suspension of 25 Congress MPs by Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan was a correct step. Having made the point, however, it is quite ironic, that the BJP which is the champion of disruption, heckling and disruption today seeks to judge and use a different yardstick when it has come to power and faces the same irritable noise and ruckus from the opposition. It would be interesting to imagine what the UPA government would have faced in the streets, media and parliament, if then Speaker Meira Kumar had suspended many MPs of the BJP from the house then? Till today, no party can beat the BJP’s record for disrupting parliament. This is perhaps a stunning example of BJP’s contradictory political behaviour: the party that disrupted the Parliament the most in the last five decades is now crying foul that the Opposition is not allowing the house to work. The cavalier manner in which the BJP had brought the last Lok Sabha to a historical low seems to have evaporated from its self-righteous memory as it accuses the Opposition of undemocratic behaviour. The Congress and the Opposition want Lalitgate accused Sushma Swaraj to go without a discussion or preconditions just as the way the BJP wanted many of the UPA ministers to resign while it was in opposition during the last decade. Resign first, discuss later - was what the BJP had told the UPA then. Today, the Congress is paying back in the same coin. “What we have said is that (there will be) no discussion without resignation. Sushma has done a criminal act,” is Rahul Gandhi’s refrain. The brazenness by which the BJP, with a brute majority of 280 on its own and 337 with NDA allies in a house of 545, has been acting, does little to inspire a healthy respect for the opposition. The suspension of the 25 Congress MPs for five days for slogan shouting or carrying banners inside the house are as unwarranted and unacceptable as when the BJP, as the opposition then, did the same on several occasions in demanding the sacking of several ministers. The UPA did relent even though there was no credible evidence. It’s ironic that it was the same Swaraj who in 2005 stalled Parliament and demanded FIR be filed against the then External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh for his family’s alleged involvement in the Oil for Food scam in Iraq. Although close to Sonia, Natwar was eventually sacked though there was no evidence of his wrongdoing. The BJP is no stranger to double-speak. Whether it’s on secularism, communal riots, nuclear deal, FDI, or black money, it’s always armed with two convenient stock versions. Besides disruption of parliament or suspension of MPs, the crucial issue is about the willingness of the BJP to respect not only all sections of society but all political parties representing a wide spectrum of India and accepting that you can’t justify everything just because you can defend even the indefensible.

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