Nothing less than a farce
The midnight drama (and, at times, melodrama) in the Rajya Sabha during the debate on the Lokpal Bill was not only uncalled for, it also showed why the people's faith in Parliament is slowly getting erodedThe midnight drama (and, at times, melodrama) in the Rajya Sabha during the debate on the Lokpal Bill was not only uncalled for, it also showed why the people's faith in Parliament is slowly getting eroded.
It has also exposed the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh as inept, apathetic and merely opportunistic.
The government had no numbers in the House of Elders, and it knew that the only way to avoid an embarrassing defeat was to stall voting, which would ultimately deny a chance for the Bill to be passed with Opposition-proposed amendments.
In doing so, perhaps for the first time in Indian parliamentary history, filibustering was resorted to by the ruling coalition. This was a farce of the lowest grade.
The Opposition had three fundamental demands, and even though there were a total of 187 amendments suggested to the Bill proposed by the government, there was no move by the parliamentary affairs minister to reach any kind of agreement before the debate began on Thursday.
For a Bill of such an important nature, neither the Opposition nor the ruling coalition was willing to arrive at a dialogue, leave alone a consensus through compromise. During the entire debate in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday night, which went on for more than 12 hours, there was hardly any clarity on what each side wanted.
By the evening it was made more or less evident by our parliamentarians that no voting would take place, and that the Bill would remain on the backburner until the budget session begins in February.
This shows a complete lack of respect by our parliamentarians to the people of India. It is not surprising therefore that cynicism towards the political class is perhaps at its highest.
Unless our parliamentarians resolve to restore faith in democratic institutions, the people of this nation would continue to be more and more disconnected. This country can ill-afford that scenario.