The parliament for the second NDA government opened, for a change, with a healthy debate. In recent times, the Indian parliament has witnessed acrimonious exchanges and people have often expressed their unhappiness with the misuse of this wonderful platform for communication and learning.
Debating on the President’s inaugural speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the house that the government has not deviated from its development route. He hit the nail on the head when he said that the second NDA government will focus on innovation in agriculture and provision of drinking water for all homes as key priorities. Conscious of the real reasons of the overwhelming win of the BJP government for the second time, PM Modi said the country has understood the intention of the Union government in providing cooking gas under Ujjala, toilets under Swachh Bharat and electricity under Saubhagya schemes. Now, he said, the government had embarked on overcoming an even greater challenge – that of providing drinking water to all homes and irrigation to every farm. The approach shows humility rather than the usual flourish: I have the responsibility of fulfilling the dreams of 125 crore people of the country. The Union government has taken the initiative to provide drinking water to every home in the country and we have created Jal Shakti ministry. We may not be able to achieve everything but someone has to make this beginning, someone has to start the process.
PM Modi hinted at drawing in the corporate world in agriculture. The crisis in agriculture is too big for the government to fight it alone. The union government he said would take steps to ensure that the corporate world also takes initiatives in the agriculture sector by help in creation of cold storages and warehouse facilities for the farmers. “Agriculture is the backbone of the rural economy and all of us have to work together for farmers. We have to increase exports in agriculture sector. It is the collective responsibility of everyone and dream to make India a $5 trillion economy”.
In the debate, PM Modi was countered by two members of the parliament from West Bengal, one was Adhir Chowdhury, the newly elected leader of the Congress party legislature. Mr. Chowdhury said that though the Congress had been decimated in the Lok Sobha elections this time – so far as it has lost the main opposition party status in the parliament – the party still stands tall and that the BJP would never achieve the height the Congress party has gained so far. Mr Modi ridiculed the Congress party saying that that it has gone to such heights that it has lost contact with the people. He mentioned on the anniversary day of the Emergency (June 25) that the Congress had attempted to crush democracy and media, and the entire country was converted into a jail.
Taking a cue from the Prime Minister, the other MP from West Bengal Mahua Moitra (of Trinamool Congress) said it was the BJP, which had stifled all dissent in the country. She mentioned the poster on fascism put up in the lobby of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2017 and says that all the seven signs of fascism noted in the
poster were visible in India today. She mentioned the “unimaginable subjugation and control of the mass media “today – a clear sign of fascism. Referring to the PM, she said that five of the largest news media organizations in
India today are either indirectly controlled or indirectly indebted to “one man in the country”. Over emphasis on nationalism, intertwining of religion and government, supremacy of military, disdain for intellectuals and arts, rampant cronyism and corruption and fraudulent elections are the other signs of fascism.
She said dissent was important as there are no natural checks and balance in the Lok Sabha due to the opposition’s shrunken strength and the ruling party’s unprecedented numbers. We look forward to more such healthy debates
and no more acrimonious exchanges that soil the sanctity of the parliament.