A riveting House
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- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives, to hold talks with PM on boundary, water issues
- IPL 2013: Delhi Daredevils crash to defeat, finish last
- Jaganmohan's wife attacks CBI, accuses it of working at Congress behest
- Blast accused death: UP govt seeks CBI probe, FIR against 42 persons
In Parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hit out at the BJP, wielding well-chosen words, growth rate figures and poetry to claim that, come election, the UPA's nine years would show up six years of the NDA. While replying to the discussion on the motion of thanks on the president's address, the PM also spoke on other issues — on allegations of corruption in the farm loan waiver, India's position on Sri Lanka at the UN, terror infrastructure in Pakistan and the safety of women. Combative rhetoric and poetry flowed from the opposition benches too, with leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj nimbly answering the PM's Urdu couplet with one of her own. It was a riveting day in Parliament. And it leaves behind a question: why is Parliament not like this only?
In too many sessions in the recent past, Parliament has been the forum of wasted opportunities. Both in terms of political polemic and substantive debate, the lively back-and-forth of an argumentative democracy, it often seems, has deserted the House. It has relocated itself, in entirely abbreviated and terribly unsatisfying forms, in the gladiatorial arenas provided by TV studios, and sometimes spilled into directionless agitation on the streets. To a large extent, Parliament is responsible for its own abandonment. And both government and opposition must accept their share of the blame. The top leadership of the Congress-led UPA rarely answers the call of the House — be it Congress president Sonia Gandhi or the new vice president, Rahul Gandhi, or even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the senior-most leaders only infrequently, if at all, articulate their views or argue out their positions on important matters in Parliament. On the other side of the fence, after showing a burst of parliamentary enthusiasm and finesse in the wake of the 2009 verdict, the BJP has serially disrupted Parliament sessions, starting with the winter session of 2010 on 2G. While it is the task of the opposition to call the government to account — and the spate of corruption scandals has provided great provocation — there is a thin line between opposition and obstruction and the BJP has often crossed it.
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- Top cops among 42 named in death of blast accused
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- Security forces blame Maoists, villagers say CoBRA man was killed in 'friendly fire'