Cornered alike by friends and foes, Govt flounders
Even as Anna Hazare threatens to resume his agitation on Lokpal Bill, the Opposition has stalled Parliament on other issues.
New Delhi: There is no love lost between the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance and the Opposition as the two sides are involved in a bitter battle of nerves during the ongoing winter session of Parliament. Issues like price rise, corruption, black money, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail have given enough ammunition to the Opposition even as the Congress is finding that its own MPs have raised the stake on the issue of dividing Andhra Pradesh to create a separate state of Telangana.
Parliament's winter session started on November 22 and was scheduled to have 21 sittings spread over a period of 30 days.
But the first six days of the session have shown that this time also there is unlikely to be much work on the legislative front with both the Government and the Opposition hardening their stands. During the last winter session in 2010 the Opposition's demand for an investigation by the Joint Parliamentary Committee into the 2G spectrum allocation scam was stonewalled by the Government.
The 2010 winter session was a complete waste as neither side relented and no work was possible, no Bills were passed. The total loss during the 2010 winter session of Parliament was close to Rs 230 crore and it was the worst session in 25 years in terms of business conducted as the the Lok Sabha worked for only seven hours and 37 minutes.
Till November 29, the sixth day of the 2011 winter session, not a single day had passed without disruptions or normal business being transacted in either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. The ruckus in both the Houses have led to repeated adjournments resulting in little business being transacted and the nation losing almost Rs 24 crore of taxpayers money till now as every hour wasted is a loss of Rs 25 lakh for the exchequer.
Repeated adjournments have forced the Government in a corner and dealt a major blow to its plans to pass 31 bills and introduce 23 others including the Lokpal Bill in limbo.
The Government plans to pass two Bills every day during the 21 sittings but a united Opposition has ensured that not much business is transacted in the Houses. The blame for the logjam in Parliament also lies on the Government as its inept floor management has ensured that even some of its MPs have forced the adjournment over Telangana.
With the anti-corruption brigade led by Anna Hazare threatening to resume their protests if a strong Lokpal Bill is not passed during the winter session, the Government is left with very little elbow room to wriggle out of the corner that it finds itself in over the accusation that it has been too soft on corruption.
If its floor managers are not able to get their strategy right and ensure the smooth functioning of Parliament, the Opposition as well as the Anna Hazare brigade will ensure that the next few months and the next round of state Assembly elections in 2012 are going to be very tough.