The Two Wrongs Approach
The monsoon session of Parliament has come to an end without any business having been conducted throughout its entire session solely because of disruptive initiatives adopted by the Congress, which in turn led to the suspension of 25 Lok Sabha MPs leading further to a boycott of Parliament by the Congress. At the astronomical cost of keeping the Parliament in session (whether it is able to conduct any business or not), one cannot think of a more prodigal or colossal waste of tiol resources. It is shocking that even among parliamentarians, who are our lawmakers, there should be such blatant disregard of a sense of responsibility to the tion. The sad part of the entire situation is that the government is no longer a really in a position to blame the Opposition for disruptive activities. The BJP government is merely getting a taste of its own antics when it was itself in the Opposition. It is just getting paid back in its own coin. But that apart, the government itself must take a share of the blame for the disruption that resulted in a total failure to conduct any business. After all, the involvement of Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in the Lalit Modi scam should have led to some action by the government against the errant ministers. But not to speak of any action being taken by the BJP against them, there was not even a word uttered by Prime Minister rendra Modi in Parliament. All that we had was stony silence during the very few days when the Prime Minister attended Parliament. Instead, we had the rather pathetic drama of Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj trying to defend herself in l’affaire Lalit Modi but failing to reply to very pertinent and vital questions. She had obviously been prepared for the unpalatable situation of not being able to defend herself for what she had done to help out a crimil like Lalit Modi and the diplomatic improprieties committed in the process. So she did quite a bit of research on similar improprieties committed by the Congress in the past, so as to be able to fling the details of such research on her attackers. In short, it was a typical case of using the equation of “two wrongs make a right” to the hilt. She made the point to underscore the fact that for her, at least, the “two wrongs make a right” principle was not very different from a quid pro quo. This is a part of what she said: “Rahul said I have done a crimil act. No court had declared Modi a fugitive by then. He talked of quid pro quo and said thieves work in secrecy. Sushma does not do anything in stealth. If there was anyone who indulged in stealth it was the Rajiv Gandhi government that helped (Union Carbide chief Warren) Anderson flee from India in the wake of the Bhopal gas disaster. Arjun Singh’s autobiography says he was asked to take Anderson to Delhi discreetly and he flew out, never to return. Then one Adil Shahryar, son of Mohammad Yunus, who was close to the Gandhi family, was sentenced for 35 years in the US... He was granted presidential pardon on India’s request. This is quid pro quo. Rahul, read your family history next time you go on vacation. Then ask Sonia, ‘Mamma, Quattrocchi ke case mein humne kit paisa liya, Daddy ne Shahryar ko kyon chhurwaya tha?’ ” These are barbs that go home once or twice and elicit the claps and bench-thumping from the Treasury benches, but leave quite a few pertinent questions unswered. One from Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress was: “Why did you not ask Lalit Modi to approach the Indian High Commission in London for emergency travel?” Another from Rahul Gandhi was: “Why did you not discuss with the ED, with the Prime Minister, with your own ministry, with the Indian High Commissioner before acting on your own? Or did the PM know?” Another one from Kharge was: “Why did you reverse the Indian government’s position that any UK diplomatic help to Lalit would affect bilateral ties? If the intent was humanitarian, why did you not make Lalit’s return to India a precondition for any travel documents for him?” There are brownie points to be earned and very little concern for what the real debate is about. And that is precisely how parliamentary exchange and even governce (to a certain extent) are carried on in India. We have always kept ignoring the fact that two wrongs, far from making one right, make an even greater wrong.