India out of this political morass.
Sine die literally means without a day. When Parliament was adjourned sine die on Monday, the adjournment came without a day either being fixed for its next meeting or of effective functioning in its current session.
The Opposition's behaviour has been irresponsible: it has the right to demand a joint parliamentary committee, but not to prevent Parliament from functioning if the demand is not met.
If it thinks the government is unfit to continue, it should move a vote of no confidence.
More drastic steps like resigning en masse from the Lok Sabha are open to it, putting moral pressure on the government to quit, on the lines of what it had done in the wake of Bofors.
Or it can agitate on the streets, mobilising the people of India to oppose the government, its actions and inaction on some counts.
These are the democratic options open to the Opposition.
Obstructing Parliament is not one of them.
However, if the Opposition is bankrupt, how should the ruling side proceed?
At any rate, it cannot collude in that bankruptcy by swooning into paralysis, which is what the government gives the impression of having done.
It must take purposive action, getting on with the job of governance, a whole lot of which can be done without fresh legislation.
Those bits that call for new laws should be acted on with the help of ordinances that would come up for ratification in the Budget session.
The onus lies on the Prime Minister. The division of authority between the chief of the ruling coalition and the PM is unusual but far from unworkable.
Dr Manmohan Singh has the wisdom and trust he needs to make a difference; what he needs to summon, in addition, is political will of the kind he had brought to bear on the Indo-US nuclear deal.
He must crack the whip on errant ministers and initiate radical political and legal reform.
The fight against corruption can even begin only with reform of political funding, and be institutionalised only with a functional legal system.
The Congress must back such reform and the people will back it. The alternative would be counterproductive.
Posted by George Varuggheese,President at Godimages Good Governance Society|14 Dec, 2010
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