Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Of Truant MPs

Monday’s question hour, when MPs whose names were listed for raising questions in the Lok Sabha were nowhere to be seen, will go down in the history of Parliament as one of the darkest moments of Indian democracy. There were as many as 34 MPs who had submitted questions but were found absent when Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar called out their names. When half-an-hour elapsed without anyone from among the listed MPs bothering to be present to raise questions, the Speaker adjourned the House in utter dejection. What does one make out of this? That either the MPs were just not interested in the queries they had merely pretended to have engaged them, or they had other pressing issues to attend to (which means for them Parliament is a secondary or tertiary business), or they would simply ignore such ‘mundane’ things as question hour because they had ‘better’ things to do. These MPs, cutting across party lines, do not deserve to be in the sanctum sanctorum of Parliament; they are a blot on the face of our evolving democracy; and the people of the constituencies they represent will lose nothing if action is initiated to take away their membership of Parliament and if fresh elections are announced in the constituencies. But why should the people wait for such a miracle to happen, which is very unlikely in the present scheme of things? Since it is the people of those constituencies who have elected their representatives to raise issues in Parliament on their behalf, and since the essence of democracy lies in the fact of the electorate being the real master, they should set a precedent by not allowing their MPs to even enter their constituencies. These MPs are anyway not representing their electorate in Parliament. They are only a source of disgrace for the nation. THE SENTINEL

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