DC Edit | It’s up to govt, Opposition to make Parliament count

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s opening statement at the start of the 18th Lok Sabha that the government wants to go ahead and speed up decisions by taking everyone together by maintaining the sanctity of the Constitution reflects the mood of the nation while his reading that the people do not want drama and disturbance but substance sets the ideal tone for the functioning of Parliament for the next five years.

It is important that the Prime Minister who led a government side which evicted almost every Opposition member from the House in its previous edition has now changed the tone and talked about the need to build consensus. The fact that his party, the BJP, approached the people seeking 370 seats in the Lok Sabha which is necessary to amend key Constitutional provisions but were to contend with a number which does not suffice even to pass ordinary laws. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) mustered a simple majority with the help of the Janata Dal (United) and the Telugu Desam Party who joined the alliance as late as January and February, respectively, this year. It will serve the party, the government and the country at large if Mr Modi makes an honest attempt, and succeed, in creating consensus on important matters, instead of imperviously and unilaterally announcing them.

The Prime Minister’s call for consensus is an acknowledgment that he will respect the mandate of the people. It is now for the Opposition, especially the INDIA bloc, to follow the Prime Minister in his shoes. The government almost had a free run in the previous Lok Sabha because the Opposition was an emaciated and divided entity. It has changed dramatically this time around: the combined Opposition’s number comes close to that of the BJP which on its own commanded a majority in the last two Lok Sabhas. It is the unity of the INDIA alliance that impressed the voter who asked the Opposition bloc to act as an effective check-and-balance mechanism in Parliament. The partners may be following different ideological moorings and may even be fighting one another on the street; but their performance within the House must align with the mandate people have given them.

The Prime Minister is on the dot when he says the nation needs speedy decisions and not drama; he is in fact reading the minds of the ordinary men and women who would want the government to be mindful of their travails. It has been widely perceived that unemployment and inflation are the two spikes that spoiled the calculations with which the party faced the general elections. There have been great announcements that ranged from elimination of black money to Make-in-India to Viksit Bharat but they failed to translate into action that would bring positive changes in the lives of the people. The people who run the government under Mr Modi will do well to realise that substance prevails over drama when it comes to governance.

A government side whom the people gave a working majority in Parliament with a warning to perform and an Opposition with an enhanced count with the responsibility to be effective and active are good news for democracy. What remains to be seen is how the two sides will honour their commitments before going back to the people for a fresh mandate five years later.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
Next Story