DECCAN CHRONICLE.,Published, Nov 23, 2016
At least the people of India will note their elected leader has satisfied the demands and conventions of democratic and parliamentary life.
(Note: “Demonetisation move” says our PM, “was not the end but the beginning of a “long, deep and constant battle against black money and corruption.” He had started off saying he was going to fill the accounts of every citizen with lakhs of Rupees brought from black money stashed in foreign banks. That has not happened. The latest move seems to wipe out every penny from Indian account holders and even from the hands of the Aam Aadmi. Promise was to enrich all, which seems to have resulted in impoverishing even the poor. What are we to look forward to in India now? The parliament is the heart beat of democracy. What prevents the PM to lead discussions in parliament? james kottoor, editor)
There have not been many occasions when Parliament has been rocked in the same way as over the current issue of demonetisation. This has become an important question that appears to be disrupting the lives and livelihoods of ordinary people. And yet Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refused repeated requests by the Opposition in both Houses to come to Parliament, address their forebodings, and clarify the doubts they have on the floor of the House.
It is a complete mystery, however, why this should be the case. After all, it was the PM who announced the measure in a broadcast to the nation on November 8 and taken ownership of it. It is widely speculated that the PM went solo and even the Union Cabinet was kept in the dark until the last moment, when its official validation was sought for constitutional reasons, and quite possibly even the finance ministry’s top brass had no clue about the coming demonetisation.
This appeared to be underlined Tuesday when the BJP parliamentary party, where Mr Modi spoke with emotion (as he had done in Goa recently), unanimously endorsed the “great crusade of the Prime Minister”. The PM sought to underline that the demonetisation move was not the end but the beginning of a “long, deep and constant battle against black money and corruption”. All the more reason Mr Modi should embrace the chance to address fellow MPs on the floor of Parliament to explain what he has in mind, and earn their approval and support, even if it’s grudging. At least the people of India will note their elected leader has satisfied the demands and conventions of democratic and parliamentary life. But the PM seems determined to do the opposite. He has spoken several times in recent days — in Goa, Pune, Agra and now at the forum of BJP MPs — while remaining intent on not even attending Parliament to hear the voices of the MPs of other parties on demonetisation, let alone speak from that forum.
Is it because he is afraid he will be asked inconvenient questions unlike at public meetings or at the forum of BJP MPs? Many questions are being asked by ordinary people, and MPs have brought their plight to Parliament. Indeed, it is on that basis that the government has been obliged to take some palliative steps in respect of farmers in the context of their immediate problems caused by demonetisation. If the PM is not afraid to face Opposition MPs, the only other supposition can be that the BJP under his leadership has turned arrogant due to its crushing majority in the Lok Sabha and doesn’t think it’s worth Mr Modi’s while to spend time in Parliament.