Readers’ forum: Why do we need enemies, what Sushil Modi smokes and why have parliamentary sessions ?
When Parliament can meet for 72 hours spread over 18 days, what can be the logic of suspending the Question Hour and curtailing the Zero Hour by half ? A veteran also wonders why India needs enemies
A broken Parliament
When Parliament can meet for 72 hours spread over 18 days, what can be the logic of suspending the Question Hour and curtailing the Zero Hour by half ? Surely the session could continue for a month or more in view of the unprecedented crises faced by the nation. Neither the number of days nor the number of hours, four hours each day for each House, seem to make much sense unless one assumes that this time was needed for the Government to clear legislative work, getting the Parliament to approve Bills.
But while no discussion was allowed on the border crisis, which was dealt with by a monologue delivered by the Defence Minister, no questions were allowed to be asked because the subject happened to be ‘sensitive’ and ‘delicate’. The Rajya Sabha had no difficulty in electing a Deputy Chairman but the Lok Sabha has been without a Deputy Speaker for a record 450 days. Is it because the Deputy Speaker generally is elected from the ranks of the opposition? It indeed is a unique democracy which does not allow its Parliament to function. One dare say that now with the experience of the pandemic, this Government will be tempted even more to have short sessions, conduct deliberations over video and will discourage debates and questions. It was, therefore, quite amusing to find the Rajya Sabha chairman extolling the virtues of democracy on September 15, observed as the International Democracy Day.
Does enmity help?
I am a senior citizen and an ex-army officer. Two of my sons have also served the Indian Army and the Air Force respectively. One of them is still in service and I am a veteran of the 1971 war. But while we as a family take immense pride in donning the uniform and making the supreme sacrifice, if necessary, for the country, I am pained to see our sabre rattling leaders and some of the veterans speaking irresponsibly about war. No war is desirable and the job of leaders is to avert war, not to invite them. Some people obviously benefit from war. Some make disproportionate and easy money in double-quick time. But wars exact a terrible price in terms of young and innocent lives.
It has rightly been said that old people decide on war so that the young can die. At this fag end of my life, I do not understand what purpose our perpetual and neverending enmity with Pakistan and China have served. If both these neighbours are hostile to us, let us admit that it is because of the failure of our politicians and diplomats. They might gain by keeping the country forever on a razor’s edge, and one must say that such hawks must be there in both Pakistan and China, but for the life of me, I do not see how our enmity has made our people happy and prosperous. I pray for good sense to prevail.
Gurdeep Singh Sandhu
What do they smoke?
I am provoked to write this letter after watching a video clip. In it, the deputy chief minister of Bihar and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi is heard telling an interviewer that people from the state do not migrate because they are hungry and cannot sustain themselves but because they would like to earn more. “It is not that Biharis in the state do not get two square meals and are hence forced to migrate. They have been migrating because it gives them pleasure, because it is almost a tradition and because they want to earn a higher income,” he said. As a Bihari who left the state for higher study and having settled in a metro city for my livelihood, I am speechless.
Criminal cases against law makers
Aa report sent to the Supreme Court indicates that over four thousand serving or former lawmakers have criminal cases pending against them. The report compiled by the High Courts suggest that out of the 4,442 criminal cases, in as many as 2,556 cases, sitting legislators are among the accused; and offences in 413 cases are punishable with life imprisonment. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 446 cases pending against sitting MPs/MLAs. Kerala came next (310 cases), followed by Bihar (256), Maharashtra (222), Odisha (220), Tamil Nadu (139), Madhya Pradesh (125), Karnataka (107) and West Bengal (101). UP also tops the table with 35 sitting legislators accused in offences punishable with life sentence.
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