Indian Democracy & Chaos in Parliament!  

Rahul Gandhi

Irrespective of whoever says what about Indian democracy in any part of the world, including India, to what degree should their comments be viewed as dangerous, damaging and/or from any angle threatening for Indian sovereignty, including its democracy? First of all, it is amazing that credibility, worth and strength of Indian democracy is considered weak enough to weaken just by anybody’s remarks. At present, chaos and noise over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s “remarks” made in UK seem hardly in keeping with ethics expected to be accorded at least some consideration by respected legislators elected as Members of Parliament. Rather, the impression seems to be created as if Indian democracy has been severely shaken by certain remarks assumed to be and/or allegedly made by Rahul Gandhi.

Several outlets of media have quoted Rahul’s comments expressed at Cambridge University in London. Rahul, reportedly talked about Indian democracy being under pressure and opposition voices being stifled. Sadly, the recent days have been witness to this being actually demonstrated in both Houses of the Parliament.

Of course, the respected legislators expressing apparently their stand on Rahul’s comments have the right to do so. But rather than hold or as it seems, prevent other parliamentary proceedings from taking place, it would perhaps be more appropriate to present a record of Rahul’s comments which seem to have agitated a considerable number of legislators. At present, it is possible, all who are expressing their stand on Rahul’s comments may not really be familiar with what he actually said. And even if they are and/or learn about the same, their stand is expected to be only be based on what their party dictates permit them to pursue. Nevertheless, democratic and constitutional ethics demand that screen recording of Rahul’s comments is telecast before respected legislators and also via various outlets of media. Or at least, he is personally permitted to clarify what he said and if possible display a recording of the comments being strongly criticised by legislators of the government. Democratically speaking, the entire country has the right to know as to what are the respected legislators making so much noise about.

Considering that Rahul Gandhi is projected as a “weak” leader by his rivals, it seems fairly ironical that a few words uttered by him should agitate them to virtually create such a political storm. Rahul expressed his stand as an opposition leader, as mentioned earlier, on democracy being constrained in India at various levels. Strangely, he is expected to apologise for this and has also been apparently blamed for asking foreign powers to intervene to save Indian democracy. His comments, as quoted by several sources of media, are hardly suggestive of his having said anything of this nature. But of course, there is no remedy for negative and biased interpretation any individual, group and/or party- including legislators – deliberately opt for. However, with respect to spreading, propagating and repeatedly making noise about the same before media, in public and/or any place, without any justification, may also amount to defamation based on distorted facts.

Paradoxically, little importance is being given by agitated legislators to media coverage gained by Rahul Gandhi by their making a noise against his “comments”. Seriously, the entire country isn’t too concerned about what he may have or may not have said in London or elsewhere. The majority are fairly used to habit of politicians targeting each other. And as parliamentary elections approach, these blame-games are likely to become louder and more frequent. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee’s reported comments about a “deal” between BJP and Congress seems to follow this trend. But yes, what is certainly drawing concern is the minimal time accorded in the Parliament to issues which need to be given greater importance, including grievances affecting people in general. Perhaps, some attention should also be paid to how much money has actually been wasted by the storm created over Rahul’s comments.

Yes, each time democratic and constitutional rights of any citizen or community are illegally affected, democracy, secularism as well as sovereignty of the country is also attacked. This happens each time a woman is abused, minorities or any individual is/are harassed, lynched or made to suffer in any manner by anti-social elements.

In the case of “storm” raised over Rahul’s comments, this is probably being deliberately indulged in to divert people’s attention from Adani-issue. But why target Rahul over what he reportedly did not say? Simply speaking, a similar political storm is least likely to be raised if probably any other politician is verbally attacked. The prime objective of the respected legislators seems to have been to gain attention of how agitated they are against Rahul. Perhaps, this strategy may not have been indulged if Rahul’s Bharat Jodo Yatra had not succeeded in primarily shattering impression created by his rivals about his being a “weak” leader. But targeting him at present, when voters are more concerned about other issues, including Adani-scam is hardly suggestive of a wise political strategy being pursued. It is a little surprising that BJP master strategists seem to be hardly concerned about their anti-Rahul tirades in the Parliament being fairly weak and baseless. Democratic ethics are certainly not being respected by legislators’ noise not permitting other legislators to express their views. This only adds credibility to Rahul’s comments on Indian democracy being under pressure and opposition voices being stifled!

Nilofar Suhrawardy is a senior journalist and writer with specialization in communication studies and nuclear diplomacy. She has come out with several books. These include:– Modi’s Victory, A Lesson for the Congress…? (2019); Arab Spring, Not Just a Mirage! (2019), Image and Substance, Modi’s First Year in Office (2015) and Ayodhya Without the Communal Stamp, In the Name of Indian Secularism (2006).


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