By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-09-21 12:20:53
The NDA government must remember that although it has a brute majority in the Lok Sabha, it still does not have the support of more than 35 percent of Indians. The number of MPs it has in Lok Sabha is only due to the first-past-the post system of elections we follow. Hence, it is its duty to allow discussion and debate on proposed legislation in parliament to let the voice of the representatives of 65 percent of Indians be heard and recorded. It is its duty to let the opposition raise its reservations and seek answers from the government. It is also its duty to conduct transparent voting on such bills after allowing the opposition to utilize all avenues of dissent.
While it is true that no business will get conducted in parliament if each and every whim, fancy, objection or rejection of every opposition party is pandered to, it is also true that the government must not push through legislation as if there is no tomorrow. A law made by parliament, although subject to judicial review, is full and final and impacts the citizens in a definite way. Hence, it needs to be examined for soundness by the members. That is the job for which they are elected. Presenting them with a done deal is not the way to run a democracy. The government needs to be more accommodative and must allow objections to be raised and recorded.
Having said that, there is no way the behavior of the opposition MPs in Rajya Sabha during the discussion on the farm bills can be condoned. If a government is bent on bludgeoning the parliament, the opposition must come up with a response that can prevent it from doing so. But hooliganism is not the way to do it. It is bad for democracy and it does not get the work done. As the NDA is ruling for 6 years now and as the opposition knows how it gets work done by force in parliament, it should now change its strategy and try to counter the government in a different way. Leaving the goal post vacant or indulging in foul play at every opportunity will embolden the NDA further.