No-confidence motion: A waste of 12 hours of Parliament time for a charade, all-too predictable result

It's high time that the rules of parliamentary procedure are changed, such that a no-confidence motion can only be accepted if the government can realistically be toppled

Bikram Vohra July 21, 2018 18:01:49 IST
No-confidence motion: A waste of 12 hours of Parliament time for a charade, all-too predictable result

If we have more motorcycles on the road, we will have more accidents, and that means more ambulance drivers, more stretcher bearers, medical orderlies and nurses and doctors. And it won't be long before we have 2 crore more jobs.

That was about the sum total of Narendra Modi's unnecessary reply to a crisis that didn't exist, called by a person who isn't the prime minister. Modi need not even have bothered defending himself, such were the circumstances. But it's also high time that the rules of parliamentary procedure are changed, such that a no-confidence motion against an incumbent government can only be accepted following certain prerequisites. Integral to which is the possibility that the government can be toppled. If the vote is dramatically one-sided, why have a division vote at all?

Noconfidence motion A waste of 12 hours of Parliament time for a charade alltoo predictable result

Congress president Rahul Gandhi walks away after hugging Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

If Narendra Modi hadn't spoken a word, simply said his defence is the last four years of his administration, judge it whichever way you want, and sat down again, he would have still got 325 nays to the motion of no-confidence. But instead, he chose to carry on and on, responding to almost every accusation against him, no matter how outlandish, all of which gave Rahul Gandhi some credibility as well. Modi actually allowed Rahul to become larger than he is.

So what we saw on Friday was not only a waste of 12 hours but also an extension of the unending, down and dirty slanging match between a prime minister who refuses to understand that he can walk above and beyond the Rahul Gandhi syndrome with supreme indifference, and a boy who still thinks he is in the public school quandrangle playing pranks on his mates.

If only the media were to treat this as the non-event that it was, the whole exercise would have been a lot more edifying. But ballooned into a sort of second coming, the country was held at intellectual ransom, with only the issue of Andhra Pradesh being given the chance of making some sense.

Since there was precious little in the charade, it was naturally the hug and wink by Rahul Gandhi and his shrill gamesmanship that earned all the publicity, which was probably the central aim in the first place. His rhetoric is that of a Class VIII elocution participant who thinks it's all fun and games, and can take on the occasion to make himself the life of the party — what a riot, look he's hugging the prime minister, look he's winking, what a fun evening!

But no, it's not a fun evening, especially not when all this fluff is frozen into hardcore news and interpreted through media's prism for the nation. Yet, because of the deluge of publicity the man gets, his credibility gets a boost though it isn't entirely deserved. His speech was no great sortie in oratory, yet he came out the better for it.

Modi's practiced fluency and eloquence, however, are a hallmark of the man. But when you don't know when to stop, genius gets bruised. There is also the law of diminishing returns, when you, as the listener, can second guess the narrative and know exactly how the cadence of the plot will unfold. Like watching Sholay for the fifth time.

All in all a day swiftly forgotten. Sometimes we should thank our stars that public memory is short and this charade will soon enough also be water under the bridge.

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