It is unfortunate that Parliament is unable to transact its business. The Opposition did the right thing when it demanded a debate on the Lalit Modi issue in which External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundara Raje are involved. The two ministers allegedly tried to help Lalit Modi, who is a fugitive from justice. The Congress-led opposition seemed to have been caught unawares when the government readily conceded its demand and agreed to a debate on the subject. That is when the Congress changed tactics and demanded that the ministers resign before the debate is conducted. The flip-flop does not show the Congress in a good light, for, it also has a duty to help run the House.
It is now almost certain that the government would not be able to have its Land Acquisition Bill passed during the current session of Parliament. It will have to wait till the winter session. Since an ordinance is already in force, the delay won’t make much material difference to the ground situation. If the Congress feels that Swaraj and Raje are guilty of going out of the way to help the one-time cricket king, it should marshal all the facts and convince Parliament that they had no right, at least moral, to continue in office. After all, Parliament is the highest forum of debate and discussion in the country and it has all the right to do so.
The debate will put the ministers concerned on the mat and expose them to public opinion. In other words, the journey is as good as the destination. True that in the past when the UPA was in power, the present ruling party behaved similarly on certain issues. The BJP is not as lily-white as some project it to be. Filibustering is one of the parliamentary tactics, but it has its limits. Needless to say, the primary function of Parliament is to critically examine the government’s functioning and enact laws. The BJP has a lot of promises made to the electorate that have to be translated into realities by making appropriate legislation. In short, the Opposition has the responsibility of allowing the government to transact its business. It can suggest amendments in the Bills moved by the government, summon enough support in the House to have them endorsed. In no case can it hold Parliament to ransom.