ByÂ Mahitha Kasireddi:
2014, seems to be the most awaited year of all times. Politics has never been this interesting before. Even the apolitical class in the country finds amusement in the speculations drawing in. While majority media and public discussions compress the entire political fever confining to Modi and Rahul, some say the present scenario is beyond them two. They are right. The demand is no doubt for a strong, efficient ruling government, be it one party or a coalition but as an informed elector I’d like to bring to focus the less debated point in politics- “The Opposition”.
The point is people’s representatives are not only the ones in the ruling party, but also the ones in the opposition. If a single party wins with 120 million votes, the rest of parties must have bagged a few seats with around 80 million votes, a number which cannot be side-lined as negligible. The right of an elector also lies in demanding performance even from the opposition. Hence, it is not just the responsibility of the party in power but also the opposition to keep track with “Jantha Kya Chahthey Hain”. And also no government can be long secure without a formidable opposition. It is in the opposition’s capacity and responsibility to propagate political activism.
Talking of the role of opposition in democratic countries, it is a multifaceted organization. It is the key to just and timely delivery by the government. A check and counter to rhetoric public policies and a friend to underdogs of the society. The one that ensures accountability on every failure of the government and adequate addressing of important issues. A centre of strong criticism that keeps the government committed to the people in their policies decisions. Above all, the opposition is an authoritative force that saves, upholds and strengthens the spirit of democracy.
There has seldom been a fair analysis on the activities of opposition. This section is something which has to be counted as one of the wheels that run democracies. The universal conjointness of opposition and ‘politicization’ has rather been overrated at least in some situations. Politicization is more of a tool which can be harnessed to achieve things which have otherwise failed to reach people through public policy. The opposition shall have to take the lead in politicizing the right issues. For example, sanitization of all government schools and rural households, the reasons leading to the failure of RTE, interest of small farmers, the proportion of number of women in the parliament, undernourishment of children, women in post-natal phase and wastage of surplus food storage, the double oppression of Dalit women, corporate irresponsibility towards ecology and environment, women security, growth and inflation etc.
What is expected from a responsible opposition? To become a mouth piece for the voiceless and the politically disempowered, to protest against pro-rich policies, to question the ruling party on the disenfranchisement of rights of innocent and weak. But, in contrast to what is desirable the opposition is criticized of disrupting the daily proceeding of the house, indulging in blame game and negative politicization of sensitive issues and irrelevant issues. For example, the death toll in floods, communal riot, bomb blasts, terrorist attacks, ceasefire violations, jawans getting killed at the border and recently a sadhu’s dream!
From the midday meal tragedy in Bihar to the recent bombings in Patna we see only regular lashing out on each other, making powerful one liners thus disrespecting each other in their position rather cutting across party lines and adopting needed resolutions. The primary practice in a democracy is respecting each other’s opinion while expressing ones opinion strongly. Seeking consent in drawing a conclusion and thus voting for immediate action has been a challenge in recent political scenario. The opposition has to carefully balance the action in stalling wrong policies and on the other hand pushing the government to pass major bills due to be.
The BJP, playing the opposition since nine years has fared moderately. The party needs applause in issues like the nuclear treaty’s supply liability clause, condemning Walmart from lobbying into Indian retail, highlighting women’s safety issues following the brutal Delhi gang rape incident. The same party has also an infamous credit to stalling the pace of major economic reforms towards the end of the monsoon session in 2012. What lies ahead is to see how the next opposition is going to help us in regulating the government each time it oversees our requirements.