The winter session of Parliament has started on the right note with the Prime Minister giving due credit to opposition for enabling the parliament to do a lot of business in the previous session. However, the ganging up of six parties – SP, INLD, JD(U), the JD(S), the Left and TMC – which have more or less decided to oppose all legislation proposed by the government purely for political reasons indicates that it is likely to face trouble in getting the necessary legislation passed in the upper house. This makes it imperative that the government engages the Congress and other less hostile parties like the BJD, AIADMK to ensure the passage of the necessary legislation.
It is somewhat reassuring that the expected revival of the old ties between the BJP and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra is likely to ensure that the two parties will cooperate in the Rajya Sabha, as one of the Sena’s spokesmen has already indicated, enabling the government to pass some of the bills. Otherwise, these would have been held up because the BJP does not have a majority in the upper house. Fortunately, however, its comfortable position in the Lok Sabha means that the penchant of the Congress and other opposition parties to oppose the bills merely for the sake of opposition will not succeed where the money bills are concerned.
However, the obstructionism of the opposition parties shows that they are guided by nothing other than a sense of cussedness, which is motivated by their inability to get over the defeats they experienced in the last general election and also in the state assembly polls before and after the May results were declared. Their attempts to thwart the government on measures such as the insurance bill underline their meanness because the parliamentary select committee’s approval should automatically lead to its passage. What these hindrances show is that many of the parties haven’t yet understood the cooperative essence of democracy and have carried their street-fighting instincts into parliament.