It is easy to read ambition in Mulayam Singh Yadav’s efforts to bring non-UPA, non-NDA parties on one platform. The fragmented and confused political climate of the country renders all possibilities valid till they prove themselves invalid. With the parties in leadership position in both political formations shaky for different reasons and alliance partners far more demanding than earlier what with the knowledge of their own indispensability, the ambition aspect can hardly be overlooked.
It is clear so far that Mulayam would find it difficult to herd the large number of non-NDA and non-UPA parties into an umbrella entity called the third front. He would find it hard to take the leadership position in the UPA, the formation his party supports from outside. Political observers can only wait and watch how situations develop and what they culminate in. With the performance record of the Samajwadi Party dipping in Uttar Pradesh, he might not even have the luxury of flaunting more than 21 seats it has now after the 2014 elections.
At this point any discussion on his moves would be pointless speculation. Let’s cut to the present. With the BJP and its allies refusing to let Parliament function, Mulayam’s move to bring together the Left and the TDP on the demand that the house be allowed to function should be seen in positive light. The parties are planning to rope in other parties and stage a dharna over the demand. NDA sympathiser Biju Janata Dal, which has been in favour of a debate on the coal allocation issue, might join the parties in the protest though it has not made an official commitment.
The actual issue here goes beyond whether a third front would eventually come into being. The parliamentarians must find a solution to the habit of political parties holding Parliament to ransom. The BJP has not let the house function for seven days now demanding the resignation of the prime minister over the alleged coal allocation scandal. It is obvious that the party wants to derive maximum political mileage from the CAG report and would prefer the issue to be discussed in the media as long as possible. A debate in the house would take the heat off the issue, and worse, it would leave its own culpability in the so called scandal exposed.
It’s a cynical game. The Congress played similar games earlier. And such tactics need to stop for the sake of the dignity of Parliament. Why should 114 members be allowed to ride roughshod over the rights of 429 others? But the country cannot allow this to go on. If the Congress occupies the opposition benches in the next elections it would adopt the same technique to stall functioning of Parliament. Unfortunately, there’s no law to make our parliamentarians behave. It’s time other parties applied pressure. If they manage to think of a parliamentary rule as safeguard against disruptions, it is better.
The insult to the highest legislative body coming from the leaders is a matter of grave concern. There’s already growing public disapproval of the conduct of the leaders in the house. It was visible during Team Anna’s Lokpal agitation last year. However, while on the subject of the behaviour of parliamentarians here’s one clarification. None of the parties planning to be exemplars of parliamentary conduct has a brilliant record at maintaining the decorum of the house. But if they are making some effort to break the house logjam, it should be encouraged.
We have not yet mentioned the loss to the country from the repeated adjournments. So many important legislations are on hold now. A country in serious economic mess and in need of important social legislations cannot afford to allow its parliamentarians to skip workdays. There’s a heavy price the citizens have to pay for the dirty political games of the parties. It’s interesting why the country is so tolerant to the antics of parties. It is time someone told them they are working against the interest of the country.
It should not be the question now whether Mulayam’s move is loaded with political designs or his own conduct in Parliament is unclean too. If he along with other leaders discovers a way to force the bigger parties to respect Parliament by joining its proceedings, it would be a great service to the nation.