Sir — The editorial, “Following form” (Jan 4), correctly analyses the factors responsible for the stalemate in the two Houses of Parliament during the winter session. The proceedings were stalled by members of Opposition who had demanded a joint parliamentary committee probe into the 2G spectrum scandal. It is a shame that the Opposition did not observe any decorum throughout the session, demanding a JPC probe into a matter that is already under investigation. Sadly, the Opposition leaders do not seem to think that they did anything wrong.
The United Progressive Alliance government, headed by the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, did the right thing by ordering a thorough investigation into the matter. It cannot be denied, though, that the right decision at the right time could have averted the impasse. Our politicians and members of parliament no longer seem to be interested in healthy debate, which could have helped solve many of the problems plaguing the nation. They have scant respect for Parliament and its proceedings.
Earlier, parliamentarians used to be well-mannered and civilized, always trying to uphold the dignity of both the Houses. They worked tirelessly for the country and for the poor. Politicians today only seem to be interested in their own gains, enjoying a huge number of facilities but never failing to demand more. They wreak havoc during parliamentary sessions on flimsy pretexts, making a mockery of politics.
One wonders when good sense will prevail and normalcy will be restored to the Houses of Parliament. Perhaps the methods suggested in the editorial, like withholding salaries and punishing members who disrupt proceedings, are the only way to prevent a similar deadlock. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha will now have an important role to play.
Jayant Mukherjee, Calcutta
Sir — The stalemate during the winter session in both the Houses of Parliament was indeed unprecedented. The government refused to concede to the Opposition’s demand for a JPC probe, leading to a meaningless stand-off. The only victim of the entire mess was parliamentary democracy. The principal functions of Parliament are to discuss issues of importance to the nation, keep the country informed about them, reconcile differences and ensure that everyone gets a fair hearing. There is no issue that cannot be debated in Parliament. This reflects both the will of the people as well as the trust they place in their leaders. The Opposition has refused to carry out its constitutional responsibility by thwarting an open debate on the scams. The UPA government, too, is yet to explain why it is against a JPC probe. This is not the way in which the nation expects to be governed. The editorial rightly says that the tendency to behave in an unruly manner in Parliament ought to be nipped in the bud.
Dilbag Rai, Chandigarh
Sir — It is difficult to understand why committees such as the Srikrishna Committee are formed, when the outcome of their discussions and recommendations can easily be predicted. On the subject of Telangana, the committee came up with six options. Then it claimed that only two of the six were viable alternatives (“Signifying nothing”, Jan 8). Neither of the two options — of creating either a separate state or a Telangana Regional Council — offered anything new. If the committee was unable to come up with a single viable solution to the Telangana issue, what was the purpose of forming it?
The establishment of a new state is no easy task. A new state government, judiciary and administration have to be put in place. Further, the formation of Telangana might lead other dissident groups to demand similar states of their own.
Ravikant Kumar, Dhenkanal, Orissa
Sir — A separate state is not a practical solution to the Telangana problem. India has already witnessed a time in history when a profusion of small states and provinces became a threat to the nation’s integrity. After a lot of trouble, our freedom fighters realized their dream of a united India. If every demand for a new state is accepted now, the nation’s unity will be severely jeopardized. The option of forming a new state may be considered only if it is absolutely necessary for the economic development of a group. But states should not be carved out just to further the petty ends of politicians.
Mahesh Kumar, Delhi