Parliament’s winter session begins Monday: Govt needs to do soul searching

Devsagar Singh

New Delhi, Nov 27: On the eve of the Parliament’s winter session beginning Monday (Nov 29), the Modi government needs to do a soul searching about its acts of omission and commission, specially in regard to farmers’ agitation against the three farm laws. By agreeing to repeal the laws since, the Prime Minister has no doubt shown  great courage and wisdom. Still, a host of issues remain and need to be settled amicably in Parliament. This is possible only if the Government and the Opposition act in a spirit of constructive cooperation. Given their track record, however, the prospect is gloomy. The political situation owing to forthcoming assembly elections in five states, including all-important UP, has only worsened it further. Even so, greater responsibility lies with the Government to make parliament function normally, unlike the last  two sessions which were almost a wash-out. The contentious farm laws have to be repealed  and the demand of the farmers for a statutory MSP looked into with all the seriousness it deserves.

            The parliamentary procedure involving the repeal may be simple, but the Opposition is bound to pounce upon the Government if only to embarrass it. This will only sully the atmosphere further drawing battle lines between the two sides. In the process, farmers’ cause may become a casualty.

               A statutory provision for MSP, as demanded by farmers, needs to be debated in right earnest. The issue is not as simple as it looks. Experts have pointed out many pitfalls if legislated. As it appears, the Government may resist it while the Opposition is likely to push for political reasons. Both must act responsibly. Winning brownie points must not be the only motive.

             For much of the trouble that ensued on the farmers’ front, the Government is responsible. Acting in haste, it passed the three contentious acts resulting in long drawn agitation. It must not make similar haste  in dealing with the MSP demand. Neither should the Opposition push for it without discussing the pros and cons of the measure.

           The upcoming state elections are bound to influence the Parliament’s functioning this winter session. Having burnt its finger on the three farm laws  antagonizing the farming community, the treasury benches may fall for anything that pleases the farmers. This will do no good to the country. The Opposition will surely do competitive politics to consolidate the support of farmers. This too needs to be checked for larger good of the community.

            It is for the saner elements from both sides to strike a balance for larger good. What, however, stands in between is the dictatorial stance of top leaders in the Government. Democracy presupposes a healthy debate to churn out the best for people’s welfare. There is so much of trust deficit now, making amends looks farcical.

         Even so, it is never too late to act. The Government must demonstrate  its sincere efforts to enlist the Opposition support on serious issues concerning the nation. On its part, the Opposition too must cooperate on genuine issues and not always bay for blood. Let the discourse be honest so that democracy thrives.

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