The government denies it has become a lame duck, unable to perform any productive work. But regardless of the denial, there is a public perception that it indeed is a lame duck, particularly after the resounding defeat of the Congress Party in the recent assembly polls. Notwithstanding the sorry state of the government, it does seem that this Parliament has truly become a lame duck. The continuing stalemate in the two Houses on Wednesday would indicate that the 15th Parliament has already outlived its mandate, nay, its utility. On Wednesday, the two Houses saw repeated adjournments as agitated members created pandemonium on issues that concerned each one of them. If the TDP members rushed to the well of the Lok Sabha to protest the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, members from Kerala raised their voice against the alleged move to import rubber. The BSP members were angry that the constitutional amendment to grant reservations in promotions as well was not being passed. With some variations, each group had its own bone to pick with the ruling coalition. The government, on its part, seemed completely helpless, unable to call the House to order. In fact, on Tuesday, a number of ruling Congress members joined hands with the TDP members to propose a no-trust motion against the government. Stranger things can be expected from the ruling coalition in the few short months that remain of its five-year term. But the point is inescapable. Even though the writ of the government has already become tenuous, following the assembly polls, it is not being taken seriously even by the ruling party members. Yes, the government has become a laughing stock for all and sundry. Under the circumstances, it has not helped its cause by proposing controversial legislations. For instance, even if the government had the luxury of numbers in Parliament, the proposed Communal Riots Bill would have been tough to pass. However, in the winter session, with the last vestiges of its authority gone after the drubbing it received in the assembly elections, it was unthinkable that the Parliament would be in a position to pass a badly-drafted Communal Violence Bill. No. In no way would the main Opposition party agree to whittle down the powers of the states, so that the centre could assume a dominant role in maintaining law and order following an incident of communal violence. Several chief ministers have already voiced their opposition to the Bill. The BJP has expressed its uncompromising stand against it. But instead of consulting the Opposition, and accommodating its views, the government has displayed a singular lack of tact by persisting with the self-same Bill. Unless the real intention is not to pass the Bill, but only to blame the Opposition for obstructing its passage during the campaign for the coming Lok Sabha polls, one fails to see any plausible reason for the government, to persist with the controversial measure. Likewise, the proposed constitutional amendment to nix the Apex Court judgment, which had voided reservations in promotions
in specialised posts seems more to play to the electoral gallery than to actually accomplish
The short point is that no fruitful work can be expected to be done in Parliament in the winter session or even in the Budget session next year. Instead of wasting the taxpayers’ money, it would make immense sense to curtail the winter session and to summon a brief Budget session for securing a vote-on-account prior to the declaration of the general elections. This government has outlived its mandate. It can no longer perform any useful work. The charade of all-is-normal does not convince anyone. It should be honest enough to admit that its time is up. And then go for a fresh poll, now or on schedule in April-May next year. The show of normalcy in Parliament and outside fools no one.