The five-day winter session of the Assam Assembly is making news not for the legislative business it has conducted so far. It remains to be seen how many of the six bills listed get tabled in the House. What is coming through clearly is that a section of legislators are using this session to make their own political statements by playing to their constituencies. The televised proceedings of the House, instead of constraining such legislators to behave responsibly and with decorum, actually end up giving full scope to their histrionics. So on Day One itself, BJP and rebel Congress MLAs raised a din and were suspended for the rest of the session. BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma then cast aspersions on the Speaker’s motives, prompting the Tarun Gogoi government to move a breach of privilege motion. As Gogoi and Sarma threatened to ‘expose’ each other, suspended BJP legislators sat in protest outside the Assembly main gate, a few scuffled with policemen while others lay down on the road. While Congress legislators raised decibel levels inside the House, their efforts were supplemented by Youth Congress activists within the Assembly premises. Upping the ante further, BJP legislators, leaders and supporters marched to the Assembly on Wednesday for more skirmishes with security personnel. In a reflection of what is happening at Parliament, parties at the Centre and the State are bringing politics out of legislative chambers onto the streets. With leaders vying to give bellicose sound bites before waiting TV cameras, the entire law-making exercise is being dangerously compromised. It is high time civil society holds our lawmakers accountable to do some work for a change.
Politics of the street