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How Parliament's monsoon session will flop thanks to coal-gate

Budget. Monsoon. Winter. Ad nauseam. Ad infinitum. Parliamentary sessions that are either truncated on account of tantrums and adjournments or reduced to the white noise of a nukkad brawl.

For a change, I do not have to substantiate the adjectives and descriptors with any hard data or figures – we have seen the farce play out so many times that excel tables and pie-charts are quite redundant.

Those who like their dose of overkill can go to the PRS website and see for themselves the many hours of productive work parliamentarians usually put in, session after session, year after year – the graph, I suspect, has been southbound with each passing session.

The next 3 weeks promise to be no different, if I have seen the elephant in the room.

Holler, hoot and scoot by the end of the month when the session comes to an end? Eminently possible.

Familiar scenes? Be prepared for more of the same

Back to pachyderms.

The elephant I refer to is the CAG report on Coal-gate. It promises to put the UPA government on the mat, as accusations and counter-accusations fly around the huge hall in Lutyens’ Delhi where important business of the State is conducted – lately, the business appears to be more personal in nature.

Personal greed. Personal survival. Personal power. Interspersed, of course, with large dollops of obfuscation, obscurantism and the occasional wads of cash on naked display, as we watch the tandav with some horrific horror.

Caught in the midst of all this parliamentary tamasha will be the occasional, and if I may add, meek voice of a Teflon coated and personally non-corrupt Prime Minister.

Having exhausted all options, I wonder if his maudlin defense will involve words like “hurt”, “distress”, “political stability”, “coalition compulsions”, “cheap electricity”, “will resign from public life” and other such meaningless poppycock.

Pure tosh, I tell ya!

Pure dark tosh that adopts the hue and the color of the substance that is being mined from the 60 coal blocks that were allocated to 140 odd private companies, such allocations having been then cleared by Mister Personally Non-corrupt.

Some of these companies have extensive experience in making under-wears, the synergies with mining being strangely conspicuous by their absence. If you do spot some – synergies that is – feel free to tug at your elastic fantastic opprobrium and howl “balls to your train of thought” to yours truly.

I am not particularly adept at beating hasty retreats, but when faced with "nowthis" and "nowthat" management theories, some involving words like "synergy" and "core competency", I usually withdraw into the nearest metaphorical coal-mine; facts, I am realizing, are buried rather deep these days, asphyxiated by the stench of the surrounding effluvium. Coal-mines are a good place to search for some of those.

Back to surface realities now, shall we? Allocation of coal blocks admittedly done and dusted. Or so we thought.

Things get murkier actually. Procedure dictates that the CAG report (on allocation of coal blocks) needed to be tabled in the Parliament within a reasonable period of time, once the i’s were dotted, and t’s crossed. It appears, the UPA government has been busy taking the mickey out of such procedures – the report was submitted to the government and the relevant ministries (Coal? Finance?) around the 11th of May. The Budget session ended on 22nd of May. Would it be unreasonable to ask if 11 days constitutes a “reasonable period of time”?

Question: How many feebly robust lines of defense can be prepared by a roomful of Machiavellian minds in 12 weeks? Was 11th May to 8th August the window through which UPA government was looking to squeeze itself out of trouble yet again?

They most likely were flirting with such notions…..we will soon see how well they prepared their alibis as spin-doctors crawl out of the woodwork in the coming few weeks. Some will pop up, bobbing heads et al perhaps, on a few TV debates as well.

And then there were some damned lies too. Draft Report, they said. Do draft reports get sent to the President’s Office accompanied by letters rich in babu-speak, typed on official letter-heads? Hmmmm…..I would like to know the answer to this one as well!

Perhaps the PM, who is most definitely NOT an underachieving poodle, will provide us with some answers in the coming days.

Time to sit back, and watch parliamentary mockery at work one more time, ladies and gentlemen. The met department got it wrong yet again, my dry umbrella bearing arid testimony to that fact - but predicting the rain of lies, bloody lies and damned lies that is about to be unleashed (in my head now, is the song “Raindrops keep falling on my head”) during the Monsoon session is far easier. It is a cinch, actually.
Ten quid, anyone?

 

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