‘For 15-20 years now, we have been attending the elongated funeral rites of the parliamentary system’
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In this Walk the Talk on NDTV 24x7 with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, former telecom minister Arun Shourie says it's important for Parliament to function and that he is worried about the state of the economy
I am standing in front of Parliament House where no business got done. So, why not start a conversation outside Parliament House? Arun, what does it feel like not to have a whole Parliament session for the second time now?
Well, people don't realise that a country like India cannot be run without institutions. This is the biggest institution under our Constitutional system and then you paralyse it. Whatever the issue, you are inflicting great harm on the country because the institution is getting reduced to what state assemblies are. In state assemblies, now the sessions are only four to five days each. So if you see the effective days, Parliament has already been reduced to the level of a state assembly. Can a country like India be run like that? So whatever the issue, the primary interest must be that you must adopt such methods which will strengthen the institution.
But the explanation is that the coal scandal was so big that to set it in public consciousness in a way that's so deep that it does not go away, we had to block the Parliament session.
One session casts a shadow on the institution of Parliament forever. And this is not just one session. If you see over the last 20 years, these things have become more and more frequent.
One more winter session was written off on the 2G scam.
Also, each time you do this, it facilitates your doing it the next time. The second point is, consider it from the point of view of the Opposition.You might say, they have brought coal into focus. But consider this: today there is no session of Parliament, what is the result? When a new fact is published by The Indian Express or The Times of India about some aspect of the coal scandal, then the focus is on that fact. But when Parliament was in session and it was not allowed to work on the pretext of the coal scam, what was the result? You helped the government divert the issue from coal to why Parliament is not being allowed to function. So even from a very narrow point of view, that was, in my view, counter-productive. Let me assure you that for 15-20 years now, we have been attending the elongated funeral rites of the parliamentary system.