New Delhi: CPI(M) today drew a parallel between the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi and the “authoritarian tendencies” of the Narendra Modi government which, it said, was “undermining” parliamentary and democratic practices.
“What we are seeing today is not merely the tendencies that can pose a danger to democracy alone. But there is also a disturbing growth of activities seeking to sharpen communal polarisation that gravely threatens our country’s unity and integrity. These are ominous signals,” said senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury.
Noting that Parliament’s “legitimacy and its right to seek accountability is being undermined”, he said price hike of essential items like diesel, cooking gas and rail fares were “announced as executive decisions when both the general and the railway budget are due within a fortnight and whose dates have been fixed and announced.”
Observing that parliamentary standing committees which scrutinise the budget have not yet been formed, he said the absence of scrutiny “deprives a vital exercise of accountability of Parliament over the executive (government).”
In an editorial in the forthcoming issue of CPI(M) organ ‘People’s Democracy’, Yechury said “instead of the collective responsibility of the Union Cabinet, the Prime Minister alone has been officially assigned the duty of taking decisions on important policy matters.”
“Likewise, the union secretaries to various departments of the government are directly summoned by the PM and asked to be accountable to him, consciously undermining the autonomy of the Ministers,” he said, adding that ordinances were being issued when Parliament session was imminent thus avoiding any democratic debate or accountability in the parliament.
“These tendencies smack more of a presidential form of government rather than the constitutionally ordained form of parliamentary democracy,” he said.
Yechury said it was important to recollect on the 39th anniversary of imposition of internal emergency that “authoritarian tendencies need not come only in the manner that they came during the internal emergency period.
“They can come in many ways and some of these are already casting their dark shadow since this new government has assumed office in the country.”