The curious case of MPs
There's an interesting video on YouTube, that repository of our collective triumphs and routine embarrassments, titled 'MPs fighting in Parliament.' It features footage of an august Indian institution, the Lok Sabha. Shocking scenes of microphones being thrown across the hall, tables broken, fists flying, chairs being flung and MPs -- our elected members of Parliament, that is -- hurling things while running away from each other: All on national television.
On July 27, 2009, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti attempted to throw a microphone at the Speaker inside the Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly while demanding a probe. Then there was Rashtriya Janata Dal lawmaker Rajniti Prasad who, on December 29, 2011, tore a copy of the Lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha while the nation watched.
Going by these incidents, then, reports of ministers allegedly watching pornography in the Karnataka legislative assembly should hardly come as a shock.
We have had six decades to try and bring a measure of civility to governance. We have not succeeded. The code of conduct that supposedly prevents MPs from shouting slogans, marching into the well of the house or behaving like a bunch of hooligans in general, appears to mean nothing. It is ignored with impunity on a regular basis, with that impunity then flaunted like a badge of victory.
Things have come to such a pass that, not long ago, MPs suspended for wrenching the presiding officer's microphone were quietly reinstated a while later.
Some now hold up Parliament for days on end, screaming themselves hoarse in protest instead of focusing on what they are supposed to -- the business of governance.
In Karnataka, Minister for Cooperation Laxman Savadi, Minister for Women and Child Development C C Patil and Minister for Ports and Science and Technology Krishna Palemar have quit. But, does that change anything?