The so called agriculture reforms bill passed in Rajya Sabha amid most ugly scene have left an indelible imprint as far as the working of our parliamentary system is concerned. Modi government at centre and BJP ruled state governments have turned parliamentary democracy into some sort of “muscular or manipulative democracy” on the basis of their full majority in lower houses. Can you believe that almost two dozen bills were passed in UP assembly within a short span of two hours. No debate no discussion even members of ruling party were not given opportunity to present their view point. Parliamentary debates have become some sort of hockey match where members use their lung power to defend the leader of house and his policies. Meaningful debates have become things of past when member of ruling Congress party and son in law of Prime Minister Nehru Feroze Gandhi will target his own party and his father in law and will compel his finance minister to resign or when another member nay minister Mahabir Tyagi will target his own government and resign from the cabinet on China issue and the then PM will again and again request his erstwhile colleague to rejoin the cabinet and he will continue to refuse but personal relations between the two are not sour. Our nascent democracy even then was so mature and vibrant. Affiliation and adherence to constitution and ideals was much more important than saving the ministerial berth or member ship of the house or scoring point over opposition.
What the world witnessed on Sunday in our upper house has shamed us worldwide. Though the unruly behavior of members of opposition can’t be justified what the chair did will go down in the history as the blackest day for our democracy. Government from the day one has been adopting uncompromising and undemocratic ways to get these two bills related with farming passed anyhow. It has neither taken opposition into confidence nor its allies state governments and not even cabinet otherwise why union minister and Shromani Akali Dal parliamentarian Harsimran Kaur would have to resign in protest. The government should have consulted all the stake holders specially Farmer’s organization. But blinded with its majority in Lok sabha and sure of media management it did not bother to consult any one. The draft of the bill was perhaps prepared by officers and got passed from lower house on the basis of majority but it was sure to be defeated in upper house where this shameful undemocratic and unconstitutional method was adopted to get it passed. Modi ji knows that once the bills are passed from both houses President of India will not give second thought to sign them and if the law is challenged in Supreme court it will meet the fate of abrogation of article 370 in Supreme court. Before turning Indian parliamentary democracy into “muscular and manipulative democracy” he has very cleverly made every constitutional institution toothless by filling them with right wing people for whom it is perhaps last opportunity to make India a Hindu Rashtra and for this support any action any step Modi ji took .
Coming back to the passage of these two bills in most undemocratic dubious and shameful manner. Both side treasury as well as opoosition are blaming each other for what has happened in the house but the fact remains that the Deputy Chairman Mr Harivansh Narain Singh acted in most unfair manner. According to rules and established democratic norm even if a single member demands voting it must be accepted.The rules and procedure in this regard are clear and unambiguous that if a voice vote is challenged votes shall be taken by operating automatic vote recorder or by members going into the lobby ie lobby division. The explanation by the government that the members were not demanding a division from their seats and the house was not in order is nonsense. Here the hon’able vice President and chairman of the house Mr. Venkaiah Naidu has played with truth. Had the deputy chairman announced division of the house or voting the members would have been on their seats within minutes but curiously the chair went on to declare the bills passed among the din. The government claim that it has the numbers to get the bills passed do not hold ground otherwise why it played the trick and avoided voting if it was so sure of its numbers. Regardless of the fact that which side has the numbers the fact is that rules procedures and methods to prove majority are more sacrosanct than the real numbers.
The BJP as a party and the government had adopted its time tested trick of blaming the opposition and the media specially channels are its effective tool to malign the opposition. Very cleverly the ruckus din and protest by members of opposition benches is being targeted more vociferously than the undemocratic and unconstitutional method adopted by the chair in declaring the bill passed by voice vote. Even Chairman of the house and vice president Mr. Venkaiah Naidu is giving the laughable plea that the Deputy chairman would have called for voting had the house been in order. He also rejected opposition no confidence notice against deputy chairman of flimsy ground saying the notice was not in proper format and the 14 days notice period was not followed as the session is set to end on October 1. Opposition has now requested President of India not to give his sanctions to the bills conveniently forgetting the President who has given sanctions to most controversial and unconstitutionally passed abrogation of article 307 bill will dare to reject or sent back the bill to government. Similarly one can not have any hope from Supreme court that it will declare this bill as ultra vires. Congress has announced a fifty day long protest against these bills from 25 th of this month. Other opposition and regional parties may also protest in their respective states. Farmers are too up in arms however in Maharashtra Kshtkari Sangthan leader Sharad Joshi has declared his support to the bill but in other states farmers are opposing it but there is hardly any chance that Modi government will adopt any compromising attitude and the act must be seen as a fate accomplice till an other government at the centre changes or amends it.