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The Debate is over: The battle for survival of democracy will now be on streets of India

The two speeches were contrasting apart. While Rahul Gandhi was assuring Manipur that their voice is being raised in Parliament, Narendra Modi, it seems, was assuring the 'investors' and big business about India's economic boom.

It was clear that Narendra Modi won’t reply to the question which is being asked but he has brought Air Force into his politics which is utterly shameful and distortion of facts. There are many stories of the past about usage of armed forces in civilian matters at many places in the formative years. India was still suffering from various issues. The power of the government was not visible everywhere. There was no google and no internet. India was not a ‘mighty’ country at that point of time which had digital data of every one at home.

However, there is no doubt that in many places people’s rights were violated but for that the governments of the day had given their accounts. What is important is that in democracy you don’t go to Mahabharat age to accuse your opponents who ask you questions about your actions or inactions.

We know that BJP would use the opportunity to ‘address’ the nation through the no confidence motion. They wanted to use it to make their cadres happy and darbaris feel good on TV channels. The darbaris were giving the Prime Minister and Amit Shah more than 10 out of 10 for their rhetoric.

The fact is that the format related to debate on no confidence motion is highly biased towards the ruling party. Ministers do not give speeches on their ministry but use the opportunity to make a purely political speech. Home minister spoke for more than two hours. The Prime Minister spoke for more than two hours. Is there a limit or not ? Shouldn’t there be a motion that such replies should be time limited. How can a prime minister speak on and on without being in the Parliament. For two days, Narendra Modi did not even turn to the Parliament but when he made a speech, he felt everyone should listen peacefully to his jumlas.

The painful thing is, BJP and its ministers were not keen on speaking on Manipur. They wanted to make it look like any other law and order issue. When they failed, then they brought all the history. Fact of the matter is BJP is rattled with Rahul Gandhi’s speech. Of course, his speech was also a lost opportunity because he spoke more for the people and less for the Parliament yet the punches were powerful. Though, symbolism or breaking of it might cause discomfort for the Congress party in the Hindi heartland.

The flying kiss controversy created at the end to deflate the issue of Manipur and Rahul’s main speech. But I think, given the nature of it, Rahul Gandhi’s speech was already the talk of town and widely watched, far more than all other speakers of the day particularly on youtube and twitter. Let us see how the Prime minister’s speech was viewed. But surely there was nothing much for people.

The two speeches were contrasting apart. While Rahul Gandhi was assuring Manipur that their voice is being raised in Parliament, Narendra Modi, it seems, was assuring the ‘investors’ and big business about India’s economic boom.

Meanwhile, I was actually travelling from Delhi to a place in Uttar Pradesh which was less than a 14 hours journey in normal times but it was reached more than 7 hours late and right from Delhi certain coaches did not have water in the toilets. All this, at the time, when every day a new train is being ‘launched’ and so much talk about time management and ‘modernisation’ of Railways.

We are in the age of event management where big companies make and unmake you. Parliament’s two days debate on No Confidence motion was nothing beyond the event management as most of the debates were substandard except for a few, purely a reflection of what kind of a state have we arrived at the moment where the Parliament can’t discuss an issue in all its sincerity and seriousness. Surprisingly, our Member of Parliament could not quote two orders of the Supreme Court on Manipur and Punjab and Haryana High court on Nuh violence and demolitions of houses subsequently.

The Debate is over. Let us see when there will be peace in Manipur? Whatever be the issue, let there be peace and harmony in each state of India. We don’t need to expect too much from these debates and definitely not from the government and its ministers as ultimately they will speak only to address their obedient cadres and use the opportunity to mock the opposition. The battle for the survival and empowerment of democracy will now be on the streets of India and everybody is looking for it.

I would love a debate in Parliament on the Prime minister’s Question Hour on the line of British parliamentary traditions when the Prime minister responds to the leader of the opposition’s accusations. That is the spirit of democracy when the PM and leader of opposition have a face to face on important issues concerning the nation. Will we ever be able to have such a well informed debate in Parliament?

Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The author is an activist and is currently working on Impact of Ganga and its tributaries in the Himalayas and the plains of India

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