Parliament not meant to be monument but should be alive: Congress

Parliament, Budget Session
Representational image.

Parliament was being “paralysed by design” while its new building was being celebrated, the Congress said on Wednesday and asked the government to worry about making Parliament “alive” and not turn it into a “monument”.

Congress senior spokesperson Anand Sharma said Parliament is meant not just for passage of government bills but also for the Opposition to raise public issues and fix accountability of the government.

“Democracy is shrinking in the largest democracy of the world and magnificent buildings, new buildings are coming up. I have not seen any major democracy in the world obsessed with a new building of Parliament.

“Parliament does not function and you are celebrating the building and are not worried that it is not meant to be a monument but it should be alive,” he told reporters.

He claimed that the overall state of affairs in the country is not good, as there is a “dysfunctional Parliamentary democracy which has been undermined, pulverised, paralysed by design, not by default”.

In a democracy, Sharma said it is the constitutional duty of the government to ensure that Parliament functions.

The Congress leader said the government has questions to answer and it must not run away from the ground reality, as he referred to the state of the Indian economy and the unemployment level.

He said there have been heavy job losses in three important sectors in March itself – construction, manufacturing and retail – and asked whether the country was moving backwards.

“If you have to listen to the finance minister or the propaganda machinery of the government, it looks like everything is fine and there is nothing wrong,” the senior Congress leader said.

“It is high time those questions are asked. It is not a question of routine criticism; there are issues which have found resonance of concern nationally and globally,” he noted.

Sharma parried questions on whether opposition parties would come together, saying “I dont speculate on a speculative question”.

“Individuals, we are not discussing. Principle – we are discussing. We have taken a principled position as the principal opposition party of the country, as a party which has a long history of leading the freedom movement and governing India, building this country for decades… to respond to the challenges of today,” he said.

Targeting the BJP, he said that “at the peak of popularity, they have 37 per cent of the national vote, as 63 per cent of India voted against them”.

Citing the example of his home state Himachal Pradesh, he said,”The devbhoomi has sent a message that the BJP can be defeated”.

The former union minister said the Opposition realises that they have to come together and they are doing so as there is no other option.

“Change is a must in this country. Change is the need of the people of India. Whatever maybe the propaganda, 2023 is not going to be a good year for the BJP. The rest will happen in 2024.” Sharma claimed that the BJP is in for a defeat in Karnataka and after that “you will see the three other states where they will be defeated”.

To a question about Congress-ruled Rajasthan, where Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot are locked in a power tussle, he said the party has taken a very clear view.

“We have a popular government and a chief minister who is delivering. If you look at the policies… they have gone down very well with the people of Rajasthan,” he said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)