Peppered Lok Sabha
Arnab Goswami and
As the Lok Sabha witnessed peppering by Vijayawada M.P. Lagadapati Rajagopal,the TV channels spiced it up further… especially Arnab Goswami who adores despotic media cacophony - spicing and peppering up issues 24x7.
Arnab is ashamed of Rajagopal … since the decibels cannot be supplied in writing the bold capital letters must do the needful. Arnab’s righteousness raises everything to a new high such that even Lagadapati was reduced to pleading for a right to respond to the charge of utterly despicable and near-criminal behavior. Had Arnab been an advocate he’d have won cases by merely demonstrating his righteousness and emphatic use of lungpower.
Parliamentarians, former Speakers, journalists , commentators and the dramatis personae of the day of February the 13th, in the memorable year 2014, found it convenient to join their feeble agreement with the majesty of the plangent tones of injured righteousness that ‘represented’ a shamed India. Arnab was certainly not to be denied his ultimate moment, snatched away from triumph of a few hours before that Lagadapati and others had contrived to manufacture.
Day after day, the Lok Sabha has been disrupted… session after session… year after year for as long as televising of the proceedings began. The State Legislatures have been witness to some horrid behavior… mikes wrenched and used as weapons, legislators jabbing and punching at each other, blouses being ripped open ; wads of currency notes have been displayed as proof of alleged horse-trading in the Lok Sabha; law-makers have rushed into the ‘well’ whenever major legislation was taken up for discussion.
Never before the present instance has pepper been –sprayed! What a shame my countrymen! Ripping open a woman legislator’s blouse is okay… But spraying pepper! People are forgetting their table manners… no way Arnab will accept this! Better all the 700- odd M.Ps and the few thousand odd legislators fall in line with the most righteous Arnab Goswami, television presenter and viceroy of parliament’s presiding deity.
Lets look at the events leading up to this unpardonable behavior. The UPA government decides to honour the sentiment of the Telangana people as represented by their elected representatives. It takes a good nine years to arrive at this decision; and once it takes the decision, it keeps its foot on the accelerator. The other half of the Telugu state, known as Andhra Pradesh, tries to apply brakes at the same time, willing to settle for nothing less than the ‘original’ linguistic state, the Samaikya Andhra.
The political parties crack into Seemaandhra and Telangana groups across party-lines (not exactly true, but it is a convenient assumption). Books of strategies are consulted, Constitutional and legal niceties are levered out of sepia toned tomes; and excavated from the deep ,hollow sinuses of crooked political brains. Plans are made and implemented to gain the maximum electoral mileage by the camps and all parties to the most celebrated issue of Telangana agree it is time to play out the climax of the drama in the current, and last session of the Parliament before the 2014 general elections .
This is par for the course. Nothing in this unfolding play is beyond common knowledge …of the politicians… and of the people. It is also not unknown that the present UPA government is a lameduck government that has failed on all imaginable fronts of executive and administrative action … failed so abysmally that a well-respected economist and finance minister of recent vintage, is generally perceived to have inexplicably failed in his Prime Ministerial duties upon elevation and hope. The Congress, which leads the current UPA government, is seen to be a fractured group with no prospect of even surgical correction… each jagged piece of the bone responding to a separate string of a puppet show which no five fingers may control in perfect coordination
What is new, then? Well quite simply, the Congress as part of the UPA is full of diabolic politicians who, curiously, are unable to carry their diabolic plans to their logical ends. Here, if ever, is a lot which is willing to wound but afraid to strike. Let it be agreed, for a moment, that politics today has nothing to do with the welfare of the people. Who would not agree for a split second, that politics today is a cynical power-game in which the better part of the gain is meant for Swiss accounts of the participant gangsters, and fringe benefits, if any, may trickle down to the majority of the people who fall for the tricks of these bluffers. Does the current UPA government, led by the Congress at least live up to these norms?
It is against this background that the thorough goof-up of the Telangana issue must be judged. The Congress could not ensure that its crooks were all, all in sync. So when the ‘time’ for introducing and passing the Telangana Bill came, the Congress could not keep its flock together. There must be a million ways, not at all unknown, for the Party to bring its warring factions into ceremonial marching order. If the Congress has a leadership at all, it has failed miserably in just this basic task.
So the Congress kept hoping that the opposition parties, for their own cynical purposes, would help it see this bit of legislation through. It kept bumbling through, under the illusion that it was playing a smart game, and kept its hopes pinned on the opposition. And, it did not think it too necessary to keep its flock together. That was a casual approach. The factions decided to up the ante. And they managed, every day of this, the last, budget session to disrupt the proceedings with great and greater effrontery and boldness. Push came to shove… and the Opposition, seeing what was coming, cautiously stepped back to watch the great Indian Circus.
The Presiding Officer of the House could have exercised several options to keep the House in order for the listed and unlisted, supplementary business to be concluded without too much disturbance. That the Presiding Officer did not use those options to keep the House in Order shall probably have to remain a ritual mystery, though not a failure of intelligence.
If a government and its sphere of operations, the bicameral parliament; and the presiding Officers do not succeed in keeping things in order; If the factions are sufficiently uncouth and not averse to displaying their uncouthness;
If there is rowdy behaviour and counter-rowdyism leading to fisticuffs and faithless behavior fraught with a real danger to the very soul of India. If Ramesh and Reddy wrench the mikes and Raj Babbar and Rajgopal rain blows and pepper…
Mr. Goswami… what ruddy right do you have to criminalize and chastise them on national television? Are you the repository of righteousness and wisdom in a country so peppered with confusions, contradictions and contaminations?
The dissolute politics of Manmohan Singh, the Gandhi family, the other dynasties such as Mulayam and Akhilesh, ensure that Azam Khan and Lagadapati Rajgopal pepper the polity with impunity. And you, Mr. Goswami, are fanning the harsh, fiery flavor across the length and breadth of a Bharat that does not even have an alternative for entertainment… the cricket series in New Zealand being a bit of a disaster.
True, pepper-spray is meant for the defense of women under threat of violence and violation. But, realize, that what’s been happening in Indian politics is nothing short of gang rape.
(Note: These are purely personal opinions of the author).