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In Focus

August, 10

India has a ‘PM-Mukt’ Parliament

When PM Modi assumed office, he had said that Parliament is a temple of Democracy and he kow-towed before entering the august building for the first time. A year into his term, on one of his numerous trips to the USA, he said, the Constitution is “the only Holy Book” for his Government. But, today, India has been forced to come to terms with a ‘PM-Mukt Parliament’. PM Modi’s actions show his disdain for the Parliament and its affairs.

PM Modi loves to speak, but, unfortunately, not in National Interest but for vote bank politics. For all his grandstanding, PM Modi was chided into making a rare appearance in the Lok Sabha during the final stages of the GST Bill, after it was debated thread bare in the Rajya Sabha. This was the first time, over 122 previous occasions when a Constitutional Amendment was passed in both the Houses of Parliament that the Prime Minister was absent. An embarrassed PM Modi made an appearance in the Lok Sabha after the GST bill was debated, to save face.

In this year alone, there has been violence in Kashmir, vigilantism by Gau Rakshaks and systematic violence against Dalits, yet the Prime Minister did not make a statement in Parliament, but chose to address these issues outside. Parliamentarians are representatives of the people, and the Houses of Parliament represent people’s will. When there are serious atrocities, the Prime Minister must address the representatives of the people, who will then hold the Government accountable.

Is the Prime Minister scared of talking in front of the representatives of people, for the fear of being challenged and contradicted? Is the Prime Minister’s absence indicative of his disregard for the temple of our Democracy? There have been numerous occasions when the PM has been in the Parliament building, but chose not to attend the session. Prime Ministers of the past had made it a point to attend Parliament. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru very famously attended sessions even when a junior MP was speaking, so that he could learn something. Instead of paying lip service, Mr Modi should actually give Parliament, and through it the 125 crore Indians, the respect it deserves.

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