Internal debates within political parties have completely vanished, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh said during the Idea Exchange event in Noida on Saturday (January 19).
In an interview with The Indian Express, Jairam Ramesh, recollecting the healthy Nehruvian debates, said, “earlier, when Nehru was the head of the Congress, parliamentary meeting were raucous affairs. People yell, raise all sorts of questions there will be disagreements with Nehru and other party leaders. It was not an easy path for anyone. Nehru had his critics, adversaries and opponents but no enemies. At present, the overall political environment has become toxic.”
In a mild criticism of his own party, the former Union Minister said the last time the Congress had a debate was in July 1991 when Manmohan Singh presented his budget. He said Singh drew criticism. Over 350 MPs berated Manmohan Singh’s budget. For three days, the Congress parliamentary party ripped the budget apart. However, at the end of three days, the budget was passed with minor changes.
He said no one was criticizing Modi in his party or Naveen Patnaik in the BJD. Motives are attributed if you raise questions. “At present, if someone is critical, the immediate reaction will be that he/she is leaving the party and joining the rival group. But that’s not the case with the CPI(M). It is the only party which is keeping the internal debate and discussion alive. They have a great culture which many mainstream parties lack,” said the senior leader.
Recently, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee ‘banned’ the implementation of CAA and NPR in their states. When asked why the Congress governments weren’t stopping the exercise, he said the CAA was under the Central list of the Constitution.
“I’m not 100% sure what the legality is, but CAA is a clear violation of certain articles of the Constitution. Constitutionally, that is very clear. But whether a state Assembly passing a resolution negating CAA will pass constitutional scrutiny, I’m not sure,” he added.
Ironically, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan also shared the same view. Khan said the CAA was a subject of the central list and would have to be implemented.
On the Government of Kerala’s decision on CAA, he said, “There is no way other than implementing the Act. It will have to be implemented under Article 254.”