We can't 'afford' so much bickering

Earlier this week, someone on Twitter pegged the cost of running Parliament at around Rs 36,000 per minute. Going by further calculations, the expenditure worked out to Rs 21 lakh per hour and around 2 crore a day. We can’t comment on the veracity of those numbers. We would like to think of them as approximate though, if only to put into perspective just how damaging an act of adjournment is to the country.

This isn’t just about the money, of course. It’s about what looks like an endless replay of chaos, undignified screaming and storming out that is screened repeatedly on national television. Take yesterday, for instance, when the BJP continued to be adamant about the resignation of the Prime Minister, even though it stood isolated among opposition parties, many of whom favoured a debate instead of disruption. As a number of people have pointed out online, the opposition spent much of last week insisting on the Prime Minister speaking. When he did stand up to speak, with a reply to all the points raised, he wasn’t allowed to be heard. What, we were forced to ask ourselves, was the point of the exercise?

Parliament has already lost a full week. According to news reports, BJP sources say the party will not give up its stand on seeking Manmohan Singh’s resignation and will not allow Parliament to function even if it has to stand alone. If this happens, the monsoon session will be a washout. Can a developing country already struggling with what the world terms ‘policy paralysis’ afford the bickering of leaders instead of solutions to crippling problems?

We would like our leaders in both Houses to think about India’s children watching. What will they think about the people supposedly working on giving them a better, brighter future?

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