PUNE: Sounding a caution over opportunist turncoats, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday hailed first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress for respecting parliamentary democracy and posed a question over the existence of "opposition party" in the current scenario.
He also observed that democracy will fall apart if anyone tries to simplify the art of politics by breaking parliamentary etiquettes, and added that absence of opposition makes politics of a country arbitrary and unilateral.
Writing a weekly column in Sena's Marathi mouthpiece "Saamana", the party MP and executive editor took a dig at the party-hoppers for queueing up to join the ruling BJP and Sena ahead of the Maharashtra assembly elections, due next month.
He also posed a serious question over the existence of "opposition party" in the current scenario.
"The water scarcity in Marathawada is as important as the abrogation of Article 370 (which withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir), but no one is leaving the party citing that particular issue. Even if there is a drought everywhere, the BJP and the Sena are witnessing an influx of leaders from other parties. Politics is a difficult art but now some people have made it simple," wrote Raut.
He was apparently referring to the common refrain of the turncoats that they were quitting their parent parties for the sake of voters and developing their respective constituencies.
"If one tries to simplify the art of politics by breaking parliamentary etiquettes, democracy will fall apart. There can be a difference of opinion about Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress but they respected the etiquettes in parliamentary democracy. It was the Congress which introduced certain rules, etiquettes and traditions in Parliament after Independence," he said.
Raut also credited the Congress for the formation of Business Advisory Committee (BAC) and introduction of the calling attention motion as Parliamentary tools, which he said are unique to India.
"It was Jawaharlal Nehru who recognised the importance of the Opposition party in the country. When the Opposition party was weak initially, he used to say that he had to play the roles of a PM as well as leader of the opposition," he said.
Raut said that even former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of BJP followed in the footsteps of Nehru.
"If there is no opposition, party democracy of country becomes weak and politics become arbitrary or unilateral," Raut stated.
He said parties need to guard themselves against the turncoats standing at the doorsteps of "heaven" (read BJP or Shiv Sena).
"If these people become a gardener of Paradise, heaven will turn it into hell. For these people their parent parties such as the Congress, the NCP, the Samajwadi Party, the TDP, the TMC etc. used to be heavens but now they are in the race to change the heavens. The paradise should not turn into hell," he stated.
A string of leaders from the Congress and the NCP have joined either the BJP or the Sena in the run-up to the elections.