December 5, 2010

parliament logjam

Parliament has not conducted business for over 15 days as the opposition has been demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee [JPC] probe into 2G scam in which the former Telecom Minister, A Raja is the prime suspect. Many efforts by the ruling coalition have failed to make the opposition budge.

Many papers have blamed the opposition for their lack of responsibility. Congress has put all the blame on the opposition for the stalemate. Its spokesmen have even said that the main opposition party BJP fears a discussion on RSS-linked terrorism and that is why it is not allowing parliament to function. The PM has appealed to the opposition to not sully the country's reputation and not weaken the democratic process.

India News Today holds the ruling UPA solely responsible for the logjam. It is the duty of the ruling formation to ensure that there is no major confrontation with the opposition, and it is the duty of the opposition to embarrass the government for its follies.

On the content of the conflict too, it is the UPA and especially its flag bearers - the PM and Sonia - who are to blame. What are they gaining by not agreeing to a JPC probe? If they are clean, they should have agreed to a JPC immediately and not make it a prestige issue and a shameless defence. In fact, they should have gone one step forward: hold JPC, also let the existing probes continue, devise a coordination mechanism so that there is no conflict of authority among probing agencies, ensure that the probes are done in a time-bound manner OR offer to have an external probe to be supervised by a JPC.

The Congress strategy is to stonewall a JPC at all cost, shorten the winter session, be offensive, blame opposition for the stalemate, show that BJP governements in states are equally corrupt, and make poor Pranab Mukherjee request the opposition to agree. It is an inherently faulty strategy: from ethical as well as political points of view. Good that Congress didn't fare well in Bihar. Otherwise they would have been much more belligerent  - and foolish.

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