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Scuffle in Parliament is a blot on democracy

The denigration of our democratic system is nothing new in our nation. But what happened in the Parliament yesterday is nothing short of shameful, and a blot on the world’s biggest democracy.

Twelve MPs unleashed mayhem in the house over a bill to create Telangana coming to blows, pulling out a microphone, tearing documents, snatching copies of the official bill being tabled by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, and even pepper spraying the chamber.

The ferocity was seemingly over the Congress-led UPA government’s decision to carve out a separate state of Telengana from the existing Andhra Pradesh. State leaders, especially from the coastal belt, have fiercely opposed the move. But the idea of a new state did not come as a bolt from the blue for anyone.

The debates have been doing the rounds for years, and the nitty-gritties of the state’s formation have been examined by an AICC committee headed by Pranab Mukherjee, who is now President of India and custodian of the constitution.

The drama in the Parliament, scripted and enacted by the Andhra Pradesh MPs, is a puerile and desperate attempt to attract the public’s attention. Almost all of them fear they will lose the approaching elections, with the population of Andhra Pradesh deeming them responsible for the divided state.

The brouhaha is directed more at hanging on to their seats in the Parliament expressing their jingoistic fervour for the integrity of their state.

Nobody is convinced by their desperate railing and flailing. Had there been any real concern, these MPs and their colleagues would have worked towards a balanced growth of the draught-torn, impoverished Telengana region. The need for a separate state only arose among its people from their perception of acute neglect and apathy towards their well-being.

The behaviour of the MPs is absolutely unacceptable, and needs to be condemned, not just with strong words, but with strong action. Political parties should move beyond their party allegiances to take collective action against those who strike at the very heart of the nation’s democracy.

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