It’s time to take stock of the situation in the country. Parliament begins its Monsoon Session on Monday. Apart from presentation and passage of a string of 20 bills, major issues of the nation are bound to come up for discussion. Among those, what could be expected is one on the government’s handling of the second wave of Covid19, which saw massive deaths including in the capital due to shortage of liquid oxygen for ICU patients. The axe has fallen on the health minister, but this is small comfort. The Modi government will have to do a lot of explaining on why such a scenario was created and why no planning was done in advance to face such a widely “expected” eventuality. The government has collective responsibility and an accusing finger might be raised against the prime minister himself.
Another issue that could come up for heated debate will be the long-standing agitation by farmers principally in the Punjab-Haryana-UP belt, encircling the capital regions. The government is understandably not willing to dump the reform legislation lock, stock and barrel. Such a demand was unusual. The agitation will have major implications on the approaching assembly polls in Punjab and hence the government is likely to take a step or two backwards. Significantly, farmers in most states are willing to give a try to the reforms and are keeping out of the protests except for the Left and Congress-inspired campaigns. A protest by farmers is being planned in front of Parliament. This might be allowed to be held at some distance away and in a symbolic manner only, due to existing Covid19 restrictions.
With the induction of a large number of new faces in Modi’s council of ministers and removal of several senior ministers, the government itself has a fresh look while it faces parliament for the Monsoon session. The exit of these ministers will go unsung, as several of the ministries could not impress the nation with any significant step forward in Modi’s second term. Nearly half the term of the government is over. Many of those who are still inside also leave much to be desired. The Covid pandemic since March last year, which could continue affecting life in a serious way at least until October, should not have been an excuse for the government to take matters forward on multiple fronts. Its failure will also have a bearing on the coming assembly polls in a few states. It’s high time for the Modi government to give new hope to the nation with some pro-people policies.