The day long token fast on April 12, 2018 across the nation to protest against the washout of the second half of Parliament’s Budget session 2018-19, led by Prime Minister, Narendra Damodardas Modi and BJP President Amit Shah along with BJP MPs failed to muster enough public support, while Black flags, balloons and activists in black shirts and trousers greeted Modi as he paid a whirlwind visit to Chennai with the helicopter as the chosen mode of transport in the wake of a statewide agitation demanding constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB).
As speculated, this act did not gainer much public support, nor will it benefit the masses for the loss of public exchequer for the non performance of the Parliament. It is mainly for self-satisfaction, as most religious practice for penance or prayer long life. In the case of Modi, this is not his first fast while in office. He had observed a strict religious fast during his maiden trip to the United States, on September 22, 2014, between the Navratri festival, when India’s majority Hindus worship mother goddess Durga in all her manifestations. He had continue his fast even during the Fund Raising dinner hosted by the then President Barack Hussein Obama in the White House.
This time Modi wanted the nation to understand that the Budget session which started on January 29 and went into a break on February 9. The two Houses of Parliament met for the second half of the session on March 5, which concluded on April 6, the first half of the session from January 31 to February 9 recorded 134 per cent productivity in the Lok Sabha and 96 per cent in the Rajya Sabha. In the second-half, from March 5 to April 6, the Lower House recorded just four per cent productivity and the Upper House eight per cent, for which every individual elected members is accountable.
At an average, the Parliament has lost about 226 hours, with less than 25 percent productivity, and this is the last session, as the nation is gearing up for the General Lok Sabha Election in 2019. The sitting fee for this washed out session is about Rs 190 crores according to the sources from the Parliament, of which even if all the members of both the houses goes for fasting, it cannot compensates for the harmed caused, unless all of them refund their sitting fee and a portion of their salary.
On April 2, 2018, the Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, whose term as Rajya Sabha MP ended recently, had donated his entire salary and allowances to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. During his past six years as Rajya Sabha MP, Sachin has drawn nearly Rs. 90 lakh in salaries and other monthly allowances.
The former cricketer has attended only 7.3 percent of the sessions since he was made a Rajya Sabha member since 2012. As per records, Tendulkar has attended just 29 of the nearly 400 Parliament sessions. He asked just 22 questions and introduced 0 bills, hence, he felt he should refund his entire salary. However, he adopted two villages under the Sansad Gram Adarsh Gram Yojana Scheme, including Puttam Raju Kandriga in Andhra Pradesh and Donja in Maharashtra; he has made good utilisation of MP Local Area Development fund.
According to data released by Tendulkar’s office, he has claimed to have sanctioned 185 projects across the country with Rs. 7.4 crore out of his allocated Rs. 30 crore being used for educational and related structural development, including building and renovation of classrooms.
If all the elected members do have a conscience and take responsibility for the total washout of both Houses of the Parliament, hopefully their political statements are made through such disruptions, but the developmental works, adoption of New Bills, debates and other policies have taken the back seat, which is not at all healthy for the nation, and the electorate is being betrayed due to such politicking and unhealthy activities turning the democracy into a mockery.
For once, the youth across the nation have expressed their dissatisfaction of such action by taking the Parliament session as ransom just to oppose all the schemes and policies of the government in power, while the general masses have to suffer. All the right thinking people, including the youths should exercise their Rights to Franchise with good conscious, so that such in future the Parliamentarians will be more accountable, this being the second time the public have to suffer, because both the government of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) II led by Dr Manmohan Singh and the present Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government have failed to deliver due to the total washout of the session due to disruption by the Opposition members.