Parliament logjam: Hypocrisy of the BJP

Parliament

“Baith jaiye. Shaant ho jaiye”. These words have been part of the staple joke in 2011. The serene Meira Kumar with her signature smile, chiding MPs who disrupted Parliament on a regular basis for one demand or the other – this had been the regular scene on TV studios.

A year and quarter back, when the 16th Lok Sabha was sworn in, with the Bharatiya Janata Party commanding a brute majority, one had thought passing Bills would be a cakewalk for the ruling coalition now. Little did one anticipate that one year down the line, the same old scenes of ruckus would resurface and crores of tax payers’ money would be flushed down the aisles of the hallowed portals of the Parliament.

Now, the BJP is singing the “government tune” calling the Opposition for debate and discussion on the floor of the House, urging them not to waste the valuable time and money of the Parliament. In a role reversal, the Congress has struck to the “No resignation, no discussion” stand taken up by the BJP in the Monsoon-Winter Sessions of 2010.

Every minute of Parliament disrupted costs the exchequer Rs 2.5 lakh. As per some fan pages of Narendra Modi on Facebook, the disruptions in the previous week cost the nation Rs 27 crore. These pages blamed Congress for blocking key bills (rightly so) and said they were punishing the voters for rejecting the grand old party.

That made me think. As someone who has been keenly following Parliament sessions, the memories of 2010-11 are still fresh. BJP need not lecture others on smooth functioning of the House when their own leaders had made comments like “obstructing Parliament is also part of our daily work” or “disrupting Parliament is in national interest”.

And when it comes to calculating the loss to the exchequer caused by disruptions, BJP’s record is hard too match:

2010:

Monsoon Session – BJP obstructs Parliament. Loss 70 hours.
Winter Session – BJP does not let Parliament function. Entire 125 hours of the Session wasted.

2011:

Loss of 76 hours as Opposition holds the House hostage.

2012:

78 hours lost in Monsoon session and 59 hours in Winter Session as BJP demands resignation of various ministers.

2013:

73 hours lost again due to disruptions by various Opposition parties.

Total time wasted- 422 hours

This roughly amounts to a loss of Rs 63300 lakh crore to the exchequer. Now tell us what all we could have done with this money BJP wasted? For one, a financial package could have been given to West Bengal!

 

Tuktuki Mandal and the BJP’s polarisation campaign in Bengal

tuktuki

Image courtesy: Saddahaq.com

Tuktuki Mandal, a teenage girl from Magrahat in West Bengal has become the latest symbol of the right wing hypocrisy and the extent of shamelessness to which the BJP can go to for polarisation on religious lines before 2016 Assembly elections.

Anyone who is active on Twitter must have woken up surprised to see #JusticeForTuktuki in the trending topics, wondering who Tuktuki is and what justice are these people seeking? A closer look at the tweets would reveal that copy-pasted statements being circulated by several egg-head DPs or accounts with miniscule followers (one of the means of ascertaining how genuine the accounts are). Obviously, there were known bleeding-heart Sanghis like Saswati Sarkar (who is an expert on Bengal, sitting thousands of miles away in the US), Gaurav Swant, Mrs Gandhi (sic), Aditya Raj Kaul and many others.

Hindu Samhati, an ultra-right wing organisation, which even views household disputes through the prism of religion, led by Tapan Ghosh was accusing that Tuktuki Mondal, a teenage girl was kidnapped by ‘Islamists’ and sold into flesh trade. Not only they did not have any evidence to support their claims, but there were several inconsistencies in the allegations.

As Newslaundry reports:

“But as reporters studied the story, they began to discover obvious loopholes in the father’s version. The most glaring being the girl’s statement to the district Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), where she stated she had left home as a result of a tiff with her parents over her studies and was living in one of her maternal uncles’ place.  In fact, a reporter claims the mother, on cross-questioning, even admitted that their daughter was involved with Gazi and had eloped with him. The mother also stated that both Gazi and the girl studied in the same school. Gazi at the time of the girl’s disappearance was also a minor and turned 18 in June.

The story just wasn’t adding up. And most reporters chasing the story for major mainstream news channels stated that the story was not what Majhi and the girl’s father were trying to sell them.”

 

Right-wing news channels like NewsX did not want to be left behind. They started their own campaign to bring justice to Tuktuki and save West Bengal from the clutches of Jihadist misrule of Mamata Banerjee. Anyone who has ever watched NewsX knows they hardly ever report facts; hyperbole is the mainstay of their brand of “journalism”. Also, enter Kanchan Gupta with his “scathing” Op-Ed in The Pioneer calling upon people to save Hindu girls from “Muslim goons in the State.”

All this was happening as BJP state and central leadership sat on a dharna at Magrahat on the eve of Rath Yatra and Eid-Ul-Fitr. Whether there intentions were to seek justice for Tuktuki or to incite communal tension on the eve of religious festivals, I leave the reader to judge.

Meanwhile, Tuktumi Mandal was back in news on 20 July. She gave a statement to the Magistrate saying she ran away from home after tiffs with her parents regarding her studies. She said she was staying at her maternal uncle’s place. Tuktuki even refused to go back to her father’s house and the court has asked her to be sent to a juvenile home.

 

Video courtesy: NewsLaundry

 

The orchestrated campaign of the BJP to incite communal tension during festive season only shows their ideological bankruptcy. The Hindu right wing thrives on rumour-mongering. With the advent of technology like WhatsApp and Photoshop, their attempts at spreading communal poison have become even easier.

Last month when I had visited the Taj Mahal, our guide (who happened to be a Muslim) had remarked during a conversation that with elections approaching, many communal clashes were being staged by political parties with vested interests and they were helpless. With Bengal elections just around the corner, I ominously brood over what my guide at Taj Mahal told me in a casual remark.

And even as I write this post, I have information that the right wing is planning to stage another hoax campaign to shame Bengal next week.

It is incumbent on every self-righteous Bengali to save our motherland from the poison of communalism. We cannot let that happen to the land of Rabindranath and Nazrul.

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

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