Bedlam in Parliament

Decorum should define debate and dissent

Bedlam in Parliament

That the level of debate and discourse in Parliament and outside needs to be elevated to ensure decorum and dignity in public life cannot be overstated. The unruly scenes in the Lok Sabha, with members of the BJP and the Congress nearly coming to blows, underline the dire need for the parties and leaders to exercise restraint. The exchange of words began with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying at an election rally in Delhi that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have to face the danda from the people over his government’s failure to generate jobs for the youth. The PM, in his reply in the House, said he would do more Surya Namaskars to gain strength to ward off the attack and described Rahul Gandhi’s response as a case of the ‘current reaching the tube light late’. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan also condemned Rahul Gandhi’s choice of words while answering his question. There was a ruckus as Congress MP Manickam Tagore tried to snatch the paper the minister was reading from.

Rahul Gandhi, on his part, has accused the BJP of trying to prevent him from speaking in the House. Meanwhile, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu expunged a word from the speeches made by Modi and Ghulam Nabi Azad. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla also expunged Union minister Babul Supriyo’s remarks against Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Recklessness in speech is pervasive, with BJP leader Anantkumar Hegde belittling Mahatma Gandhi’s role in the freedom struggle and Union minister Anurag Thakur getting banned from electioneering.

The incident when Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a novice, told Jawaharlal Nehru in the Lok Sabha that he saw ‘glimpses of both Churchill and Chamberlain in him’, and the patriarch Nehru not getting offended and complimenting him on his speech, should serve as an example for the two parties. Parliament represents the people and our MPs should strive to set the standards.


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