Friday, March 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Decline of Parliament: people’s expectations belied

MR HARI JAISINGH’S article “Decline of Parliament: people’s expectations belied” (The Tribune, March 10, 2000), has highlighted the grave concern over the parliamentarians’ acts of hooliganism during debates in the august House. It cannot be denied that the quality and level of debates in Parliament have debased in recent times.

Of course, earthy wit that provides comic relief is the hallmark of a meaningful debate. But the seriousness of the issues and the agenda should not be lost sight of. A developing country like ours cannot afford the sheer loss of time in the legislatures that leads to a loss to the national exchequer. The author rightly asserts: “Nothing can improve unless parliamentarians conduct themselves with dignity and a sense of responsibility.”

The live telecast of proceedings in Parliament provides both audio and visual account of every action of the representatives of the people. Hooliganism and din in these Houses throw poor impression on the viewers.

The parliamentarians ought to keep in mind that the people now evaluate their performance and decide their course of action and reaction in the elections on that basis. Their acts of hooliganism and disruption of the working in the Houses may tell upon their political career in future. They ought to act responsibly and with grace.

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

  Loss of public money: All representatives of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha must do some introspection. Then they will realise themselves how much precious time and public money they are wasting.

In theory, Parliament is supposed to legislate, but does it play this role effectively? It is also expected to call into account those who govern the country.” How does it do this? These questions of the writer must be taken seriously. Moreover when we question ourselves our inner consciousness always provides us the right direction.

Bathinda Cantt

Cong to blame: It has been mentioned in the article that debates of the 1950s and the 1960s had a high standard. Quite true. But what are the reasons for the decline in the standards?

One reason is that the Opposition in those good old days was very weak. Therefore, the ruling Congress with an overwhelming majority could do anything it liked, without any trouble from the weak opposition.

The second reason is that there was no caste-based politics at that time, and unscrupulous persons like Mr Laloo Yadav and Mr Mulayam Yadav could not enter Parliament and create lawlessness. The Congress party is solely responsible for inducting caste into politics and has ruined itself in the process.

The third reason is the general decline in the moral values in the national life, which is bound to reflect itself in the elected representatives also. Who is responsible for this? It is again the Congress and the likes who ruled the country for all these 50 years.


The burning issues: The party system that is collapsing has all along remained totally oblivious of the burning issues like dehumanising poverty, illiteracy and backwardness.

So long as the lure of political power and perks are accessible to petty politicians, with no matching accountability, the pursuit of these objectives will remain their prime concern, to the detriment of the national interest.

The long cherished vision of India through the party system has not materialised, thanks to the system that has been allowed to work only to fulfil the needs of those at the helm.

Notwithstanding all this, people too have displayed their usual passivity to react to such sordid state of affairs. Consequently, people feel like strangers in their own land caught up in a maze, having nothing to do and finding nowhere to go.




Not Sainiks, please

I was shocked to read the headline, “Sainiks stone Lahore bus” on the front page of The Tribune (March 5), but further details gave me relief that it did not concern the sainiks. The word sainik, which actually means fauji, the soldier, is sometimes wrongly used for Shiv Sainiks. In the past also similar confusing headlines have been noticed in the Press.

The newspapers may have their own constraints of space to use brief words for the headlines, but surely brevity should not lead to dual meaning. I think it would be worthwhile to avoid the confusion if only to prevent it from hurting the sentiments of the soldiers.

Wg Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd)

Ex-PMs’ default in payment

Recently the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, told the Lok Sabha that three former Prime Ministers — Mr Chandra Shekhar, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao and Mr H.D. Deve Gowda — owed Rs 5.91 crore, Rs 5.52 crore and Rs 54.61 lakh, respectively, to the government for using defence aircraft for purposes other than official (“Ex-PMs, Cong owe Rs 12.43 crore to govt.”, March10).

Earlier, in December, 1998, Mr Fernandes had made almost a similar statement in the Rajya Sabha. It appears that since then neither the government has bothered to recover the amounts nor have the ex-Prime Ministers concerned cared to clear their liability.

The sum due from Mr Deve Gowda is not much. It is not the quantum of money but the default in payment that matters.

The amounts in the cases of Mr Chandra Shekhar and Mr Rao are quite huge and have not been paid for the last many years.

Apparently, these former Prime Ministers used the defence aircraft in the election campaigns of their respective parties. There is no legal or moral justification for withholding payments. The actions of very senior leaders must be in accord with the standards of good conduct, so that the people may take cue from them.

The late Union Minister and Congress leader Jagjivan Ram did not file his income-tax returns for several years. Many income-tax assessees took the plea that if he could go scot-free, why was penalty necessary in their cases for a similar default?



Question: What are the “Water” crew members feeling now?

Answer: “Sar mundatey hi olay paray”.



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