Lift the logjam

If the UPA government at the Centre had any apprehensions about the Opposition parties ‘ganging up’ over the issue of FDI in retail and causing it serious embarrassment, if not defeat on the floor of the Lok Sabha, they have been considerably dissipated on the first two days of the winter session of Parliament itself. For all the brouhaha they displayed before the session began, it was evident on Day One that the Opposition is in greater disarray than the UPA and they simply cannot get their act together. The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress walked out of the UPA government in September over the FDI issue, accusing the Congress of taking a unilateral decision. Many other parties, including the DMK, the BSP and the Samajwadi Party, have publicly opposed the government’s controversial decision, and if they were to take a united stand, the government would have found itself in a minority.

But a fractured Opposition scored a self goal on the opening day of Parliament by displaying their disunity, lack of conviction, and perhaps even double standards where the FDI is concerned. Mamata announced her party’s decision to move a no-confidence motion against the government without even consulting the other parties; the NDA and the Left parties independently decided they would move motions for discussion under Rule 184 which would entail voting; the BSP and the SP, the two Trojan horses among the Opposition, brought up extraneous subjects to derail the entire discussion. After her party’s attempt to move a no-confidence motion floundered on paucity of numbers – TMC has 19 members as against 54 required for the motion to be admitted – the blame game has begun with Mamata accusing the other parties of ‘saving’ the government, while they in turn blamed her for acting as a ‘saviour,’ as Parliament will not entertain another no-confidence motion for at least another six months.

There are many important bills, including the Lokpal and the Land Acquisition bill, that are pending before Parliament and it is as much the duty of the government as of the Opposition to ensure that the Houses function. The last monsoon session was also almost completely washed out. The leaders of political parties should realise that the credibility of politicians is at a very low ebb and another ‘no show’ at a time of numerous economic problems, will be viewed seriously by the people. The government and the Opposition should find a quick end to the current imbroglio over FDI debate and move on.

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