(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters Corp)
Are they parliamentarians, or do they just play ones on TV? After pushing through proposals on foreign investment in the retail and the aviation sector late last year, India’s elected representatives apparently have decided to get as little done as possible during the current session.
On television, it’s another matter. Newsroom studios appear to be the preferred forum for debating problems and legislation that normally would be the province of parliament. Those include recent demands by the coalition government’s prime opponent, the Bharatiya Janata Party, for the resignations of the prime minister, law minister and the railway minister over accusations that the government interfered with an investigation of improper allocation of coal mine licenses and certain other bribery allegations.
The Lok Sabha, or “people’s house,” has repeatedly adjourned in recent days, likely making it one of the least productive in its history. That’s bad if you want to pass bills, but it does help clear politicians’ schedules for the nightly news discussion programs. And that is not a bad thing, depending on whom you ask.
“The effort is to inform the public,” said BJP spokeswoman Nirmala Sitharaman. “We don’t think even for a minute we’ll accept this charge that we are disrupting parliament … This government wants to have a debating club run without any accountability”.