Sunday, July 21, 2024

Speedy governance


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After the five-year-lull, Parliament is back into full-throated activity. The opposition benches that were dispirited in the last term have turned active, and are taking on the government from day-one with a new frenzy. Rahul Gandhi, who took up position as the Leader of Opposition, has made a speech that enthused the party leadership and the INDI Alliance for both its tone and tenor. He and the Congress are gripped by a new-found confidence as the party managed to win around a hundred seats this time, a sizable strength in the Lok Sabha. This was followed by Rahul Gandhi being appointed Leader of the Opposition a status that had eluded the party for the past two terms. This augurs well for democracy as a strong opposition is as important as a strong government. This strength should however not be misused. A sense of responsibility should guide the opposition to raise the quality of discussions and avoid disruption of the proceedings in the House. Even the legislation of a new set of criminal laws, implemented from July 1, was passed in the last parliament amid huge disruptions, suspension of opposition MPs and without discussions. The result: it has its flaws.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is obviously a tamed leader by virtue of the dressing down he and his party got from the voters, reducing the BJP’s strength from 303 to 240, forcing it to form the government with the able help from three major political establishments. His promise, by way of reply to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, is that his new government would work with three times the speed and strength of the last governance and produce three times more results. The sentiment is well-appreciated as he might appear to have wasted precious time without solid actions and dragged on his promises. The lukewarm response that he got from the people this time was proof that they were not enthused by his performance. In the absence of a credible alternative, they nevertheless gave him and the BJP another chance. Modi, as he courses ahead in his third term, would do well to harp less on religion – which he invoked during his present speech in parliament too, both in place and out of place. His over-emphasis on Ayodhya as PM, in the last term, failed to draw more votes for himself and his party even in Ayodhya and the hotbed of UP as a whole too. Today people are more concerned about their daily bread and butter. The PM has rightly noted that “our campaign to lift 25 crore people out of poverty brought us blessings during the elections.” Less emphasis on religion and more work to uplift the masses and speed up progress of the nation, from him, will be appreciated especially by India’s burgeoning youth population.


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