Hitting a New Low by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (July 25, 2014)

The august Parliament’s dignity and honour have recently been brought to a new, record low by its own members. The decline in it has been steady for years. The present Lok Sabha has members with a criminal record not in their tens but hundreds.

Recently, we have seen in Parliament such scenes as an MP spraying pepper straight into the eyes of several of his colleagues and causing a pandemonium, without much rhyme or reason. When asked about this wild behaviour he said he feared that his colleagues could attack him physically. There was no basis in fact for such fear.

Before that we have witnessed stacks of currency notes being offered to MPs as bribe right in the middle of the House.

Parliamentarias’ conduct hit a new low when, earlier this week, eleven MPs of Shiv Sena stormed the Maharashtra Resident Commissioner’s office in Maharashtra Sadan, smashed his wall clock, threw around his papers and vaudalised his office. They also attacked the canteen staff, threw around plates and forced a chapatti into the mouth of the manager, who happened to be a young Muslim on fast.

The Resident Commissioner reported to the Maharashtra government about the unbecoming conduct of the MPs and described them as a violent “mob”. Members of Parliament, from whom we expect gentlemanly conduct, have now officially been described as a mob. A group of gentlemen can be a committee, commission, sub-commission or delegation (like a “delegation” of Shiv Sena MPs meeting the Resident Commissioner). A mob does not consist of gentlemen, but of ruffians, goondas.

This new low in our national political life is truly heart-breaking. We had never thought that a time will come when our MPs will be officially described as a mob. For this only they are responsible.

The man who was made to suffer the indignity of being force-fed has complained that Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare had broken his fast. This is a shameful act. On July 22, Parliament reverberated with shouts of “shame, shame” to condemn the undignified act of Vichare and his colleagues.

We do not find this vile act of Vichare surprising as he already has 19 police cases against him for offences like rioting (Section 147 IPC) and deliberate insult to provoke breach of peace (Section 504). To add insult to injury, BJP MP Vithuri showed rowdy conduct in the House and used offensive language about “Hindustan-Pakistan” that had to be expunged from Parliamentary proceedings. He was forced by angry members to apologise, which he did half heartedly. All this requires, at the minimum, a reprimand by the Parliament Ethics Committee, public shaming and some sterner disciplinary measures to protect the dignity of Parliament.

It is interesting to know that among the mob of these MPs, Sanjay Raut (RS) has 14 police cases against him, Anandrao Absul one, Arvind Sawant one, Hemant Godse one, Kripal Tumane one, Ravindra Gaikwad 8, Vinayak Raut 5, Shivaji Adhalrao Patil 10 and Rahul Shewale one. Only Shrikant Shinde does not have any case against him.

This is a serious moment of introspection for the political class to decide whether there can be any dignity of a public representative without the dignity of national Parliament. Parliament’s dignity must be restored at all cost.

 

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