As some political parties influenced the political equations in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha by staging walkout at the time of voting on the proposal against FDI in retail, in the similar vein quota bill for promotion of SC/ST government employees is going to witness the melodrama in the Houses. It is most likely that Samajwadi Party members would either stage walkout or would be evicted out of the House by marshals during debate and voting on the bill on Monday in the Rajya Sabha. It seems possible because similar things happened when this bill was tabled in the House. At the time of introduction of the bill in the House, SP members raised their voice on which Deputy Chairman of the House summoned marshals and later he asked two members of the party to leave the House under Rule 255 for creating disturbances. In order to protest the decision of the Deputy Chairman, all the SP members staged walkout. Similar story can again be repeated in the House as SP is vehemently protesting against the bill and would never like to see it sailing through the House. On the contrary, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is adamant to get the bill passed in the Parliament. It is quite obvious that government is working under the BSP’S pressure.

Whatever be the fact in this matter, it is assumed that despite its opposition to the bill, SP does not want to be seen as a party creating hurdles in passage of this bill. It is also being speculated that the party would confine its opposition to the bill in the form of creating ruckus and resorting to walkout to dispel the chances of its participation in voting. Possibility of this perception cannot be denied because even earlier the SP was found to be terming FDI in retail dangerous and tried to convince the government for the backtrack of the decision on FDI by citing the ideology of Gandhi and Lohia but finally its actions caused the defeat of the anti-FDI proposals in the both houses of Parliament.

Even BSP too did the same thing. The BSP MPs staged walkout in the Lok Sabha while voted in favour of the government in the Rajya Sabha. Ironically, both the parties slammed each other for their stands on FDI. It’s really a bizarre face of politics. Unfortunately, we are faced with such developments every now and then. This form of politics is totally against the dignity of Parliament and democratic values. Such methods are meant only for misleading the masses. Unfortunately, the number of the parties resorting to such methods is swelling gradually. DMK too had opposed FDI in retail but at the time of voting it stood by the government. Even earlier on the issue of Lokpal bill, all parties had agreed to its provisions, but when the bill was presented for the approval of the Houses, almost all political outfits stonewalled it. If the SP opposes the quota bill only for the showoff and at the same time it makes easier for the government to sail the bill through both the Houses of Parliament by abstaining from voting then this act will definitely be surprising. In fact, the people must know that which party took what stand at the time of voting.

Why political parties fail to understand that number plays a decisive role in democracy and they should abide by a decision taken with majority of votes. If a party does not agree with a proposal or a bill, it’s better for to put across its points in the House instead of creating pandemonium or staging walkout. If its views are not accepted, even then, it should participate in debate and voting on the issue in the House. If some parties believe that only their views are justified on a bill or a proposal, they are free to galvanize masses outside Parliament in support of their stand. If a party does not agree with the viewpoints of another party, the former should walkout of the House to register its protest. In fact, such acts should be prohibited. Surprisingly, the ruling party has also usually been found trying to incite other parties to stage walkout to get a congenial situation in the House. Whenever such developments take place, they make people infer that some kind of secret deals have taken place. Similar thing had happened at the time of voting on FDI. Political parties should realise the fact that the group which enjoys majority in the Parliament has got a right to work as per its convenience. Similarly, the opposition parties too have got a right after getting majority to amend a law or provision which they failed to stop when they were in minority. Many a time such things have happened. The NDA government had framed POTA but the act was abolished when the Congress led UPA was voted to power in 2004. Staging walkout by a party on certain ostensible grounds become improper when it is seen as something benefiting the party which is in power. If the parties say something in the House and do contrary to their declared stand, it cannot be acceptable. Similarly, adopting two differing stands in the both Houses of Parliament is billed to be deceiving people. Now, it is more frequently seen that a party voicing against a proposal but acting in a way which goes in favour of the same proposal.

The parties which denied presenting their views on the floor of the House are surprisingly seen justifying their stand outside the Parliament in front of media. It is also often seen that when the proceedings of the Houses are disrupted due to the conflicting views of the parties on a certain issue, the same thing is being debated outside the Parliament such as at TV news studios. It is an example of the contempt of the Parliament. Though, this issue is not being seriously highlighted, it is quite frequently seen that the government announces policy related decisions outside the Parliament especially when the Houses are in session. It’s difficult to understand that the thing which is being allowed to happen outside the Parliament, why it cannot happen inside the House? Such things cause recurrence of interruption in the proceedings of the Houses that reduces the dignity of the Parliament. By hindering the proceedings of the Houses, the political parties try to grab headlines, justifying their acts. They are not only required to contemplate on bringing radical changes in the present political system, but also called for ensuring smooth functioning of the Parliament. If they don’t do this, it will definitely have a wrong impact on the image of the political parties as well as the dignity of the Parliament. In fact, negative impact of such acts has now begun to appear. It is really difficult to understand that the parties, which tout a lot about the dignity and sanctity of the Parliament, don’t hesitate in impeding the functioning of the Houses. Now the Parliament sessions are known for getting washed out or many hours getting wasted on ruckus and walkouts which are utterly wrong.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on December 16, 2012 translated by the English Editorial. The author is Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)