Rajya Sabha

Parliament of India

Last week Rajya Sabha elections were held across various states in India. While the whole process of camping, voting and delayed counting was going on, a dear friend remarked, “What a waste of taxpayers’ money!! Why this whole process of complicated counting of votes? Why not just have one House where the law makers are directly elected by We The People of India.”

I went whole hog and tried explaining him the process but I guess I wasn’t still able to convince him. So this one is for you my dear friend and like they say – शुरू से शुर शुरू करते हैं !!

On 3rd January 1949, the Constituent Assembly took up Article 66 of the Draft Constitution (Article 79 of the Final Constitution) for debate & deliberate to constitute a Parliament for India that was to comprise of The President and two houses – Council of States (Rajya Sabha/Upper House) and the House of People (Lok Sabha/Lower House).

Shri Loknath Mishra

Constituent Assembly member from Odisha Shri Lokanath Mishra moved an amendment to remove the term ‘Council of States’ from the Draft Article – he did not want an upper house. Since the Draft Constitution did not provide for such upper house, he saw no need for an upper house at all – “it was a waste of public money and time.” (Just the kind of point my friend put forth)

MA Ayyangar  –  A Constituent Assembly member from now Tamil Nadu and who later went on to become the Speaker of The Lok Sabha defended the need of The Rajya Sabha. He argued that parliament needed an upper house for the following reasons:

Shri MA Ayyangar
  • First, that politics must be a space for a range of people to take part; the upper house would be space ‘where the genius of the people may have full play’.
  • Second, the upper house would act as a check on any hasty legislation that lower house may pass.
  • Third, the upper house, unlike the lower house, would be permanently elected.

And the motion was accepted and lo and behold we have had the Upper House ever since.

It’s the way our Constitution provides adequate Checks and Balances. The no. of seats that each state is allocated is according to its population. Its members are always there to deliberate, discuss and approve/disapprove various important matters, case in point being to validate the Emergency under Article 352 for a limited period when the Lok Sabha remains dissolved.

A brute majority in Lok Sabha of one party does not end up becoming tyrannical and thus its actions are to be checked by the Upper House whose members are elected by the state legislature and have different considerations to look into.

Now let us look at the tables below. This data shows the number of seats and the share in the respective houses of the various political parties. For better understanding I have just taken the top 6.

LOK SABHA

Top 6DetailsSeatsPercentage
1BJP30155.7%
2INC539.8%
3DMK244.4%
4Trinamol Congress234.3%
5YSR Congress224.1%
6Shiv Sena193.5%

RAJYA SABHA

Top 6DetailsSeatsPercentage
1BJP9538.8%
2INC2911.8%
3Trinamol Congress135.3%
4DMK104.1%
5BJD93.7%
6AAP83.3%

While the top 4 parties remain the same in both the houses the next two are different. Even in terms of percentage points how different it is. While BJP on its own have around 55.7% Lok Sabha seats in the Rajya Sabha is way lower at 38.8%.

Ironically none of the other 4 parties besides the Congress are the allies of the BJP at least officially.

Rajya Sabha

In the 8 years of the NDA rule we have seen various controversial and questionable laws that it wanted to pass had to be put on hold due to its inability to garner nos. in the Upper House. Bills related to Land Acquisition and the Lok Pal  / Lok Ayukta which sailed thru the Lok Sabha were suitably amended by the Rajya Sabha.

Thus our constituent members had the foresight to envisage such a situation which necessitated the creation of Upper House.

One of the Sanskrit Shloka from The Mahabharat has been inscribed in the Parliament building:

” न सा सभा यत्र न सन्ति वृध्दा:, वृध्दा न ते ये न वदन्ति धर्मम्।

धर्म स नो यत्र न सत्यमस्ति , सत्यं न तत् यत् छलमभ्युपैति॥ “

Which means  –

That’s not an Assembly where there are no wise persons,

Those are not wise, who do not speak with righteousness,

That’s no righteousness where there is no truth,

That’s not the truth which leads one to deceit.

So let the people of our country be benefitted from the counsel and wisdom of the members of both the houses.

I hope my friend, I am able to convince you now.

ADVANI JI

भारतीय जनता पार्टी ने आगामी लोक सभा के लिए अपने उम्मीदवार हाल ही में घोषित किये, चर्चा टिकेट मिलने से ज्यादा जिनको नहीं मिला उनकी थी, मुख्यतः आदरणीय लाल कृष्ण आडवाणी जी की!!

उनके बारे में आज कल कम ही सुनने और पढ़ने में आता है जब से उनके शिष्य और हमारे देश के प्रधानमंत्री मोदी जी ने उनको मार्ग दर्शक मंडल में डाल दिया है. कभी कभार आप श्री के हाथ जोड़े वाले विडियो ज़रोर वायरल हो जाते हैं.

लेकिन पिछले दो दिन से अडवानी जी सुर्ख़ियों में नज़र आ रहे हैं जब से उनकी पारंपरिक सीट पर मोटा भाई को लड़ाने का निर्णय लिया है. कारण कोई भी चाहे उनको टिकेट नहीं दिया या उन्होनें स्वयं मना कर दिया , एक बात तो पक्की है की वाजपेयी जी के युग के नेताओं का युग का समापन. वह युग जहाँ राजनेताओं में थोड़ी बहुत आँख की शर्म और आपसी सामंजस था और अब की तरह विषैला, संकीर्ण और कटुता भरा नहीं था.

एक बात कुछ दिनों से ज़रोर सुनने को आ रही है की उन्होनें अपनी पुत्री प्रतिभा जी को अपनी जगह टिकेट देने से मना कर दिया क्यूंकि वह वंशवाद नहीं फैलना चाहते. आशा करता हूँ की इस सिधांत पर उन के परिवार जन हमेशा द्रढ़ संकल्पित रहे क्यूंकि यह भले ही सुनने में अच्छा लगा लेकिन सत्ता के मीठे फल को छोड़ने का मन आज तक इतनी आसानी से आगामी पीढीयों में देखने को नहीं मिला.

इतिहास उन के राजनीतिज्ञ के रूप का आकलन कैसा करेगा? एक ऐसे नेता के रूप में जिसने १९८४ की 2 सीटों वाली पार्टी को श्रीराम के सहारे मात्र एक दशक में सत्ता के करीब ले आने वाले या एक लौह पुरुष के रूप में जिसने कंधार में आतंकियों को छोड़ा था ??

या उस व्यक्ति को याद रखेगा जिसने भारत को धर्म के नाम के दो हिस्सों में बंटवारा किया और जिनके मकबरे पर आपने उनको सबसे बड़ा धर्मनिरपेक्ष व्यक्ति कहा, मैं बात कर रहा हूँ क़ैद-ऐ-आज़म मोहम्मद अली जिन्नाह की.

मेरे लिए अडवानी जी हमेशा वोह व्यक्ति रहेंगे जिनकी सोची-समझी रणनीति के तहत निकाली रथ यात्रा जहाँ जहाँ से निकली दंगे और समाज में अविश्वास फैलाते चलती गयी. ऐसी रथ यात्रा जो शरू तो हुई थी १९९० में लेकिन जिसके पहिये ना जाने कितने घर दबाये आज तक हमारे दिलो में एक दुसरे के खिलाफ शक और पूर्वाग्रह लिए निरंतर घुमती जा रही है. मैं उनको हमेशा याद रखूँगा जिनके कारण मैंने पहली बार मेरे शहर में कर्फ्यू लगते हुए देखा 6 दिसम्बर की घटना के बाद. जहाँ तक मुझे याद है तब शायद ही मेरे शहर में कोई दंगा हुआ था, शुक्र है उस समय व्हात्साप नहीं था वरना ना जाने मात्र अफवाहों से कितनों की जानें और चली जाती.

आशा है की अब सार्वजनिक जीवन से अलविदा ले अपने सगे-सम्बन्धी और शुभ चिंतकों के बीच सुख-समर्धि से रहे.

Dear Mr. Kejriwal

Dear Mr. Arvind Kejriwal,

I write this letter while you and some others are busy in back room maneuvering to have a tie-up with my party i.e. The Indian National Congress.

I do not know what my party’s Central and State Leadership is going to decide on this tie-up but what certainly I do now know is that you are no different from the others you so vehemently criticized from the grounds of Ram Leela Maidan and can henceforth take no moral high ground on the basis of principles, ethics for being a party with a difference.

In not so distant past you had painted the entire political class with one stroke of brush as Corrupt, inept, inefficient, unprincipled etc and garnered these anti-establishment votes to a spectacular win in Delhi Assembly. A model you tried so hard to replicate pan-India but failed with most of your candidate forfeiting their deposits in Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections barring a few exceptions.

I was never a fan of your kind of politics because you offered the people of India Utopia when you yourself knew there was none. One by one people started leaving or were made to leave the movement that Anna Hazare had started and whose fruits you were the only one left to devour and relish.

From swearing on your children never to have a tie-up with the Congress to actually doing it and now bending over backwards to accommodate them is not surprising to those who have watched you closely. Let the truth be told you are a Delhi Centric Party with an influence over 7 Lok Sabha Seats and 70 Assembly Seats, other than that it is just an exception.

During the heydays of the Lokpal Movement I was made to feel guilty about being a Congressman by your fans and now when I see your antics I feel sorry for them.

I just hope my party leadership listens to Ex. CM Shiela Dixit ji who successfully led the state for a record three terms and hope you too focus on your core competence i.e. Delhi and not spread yourself too thin !!

Regards,

A Congressman

General Elections 2019

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Immediately after the stupendous success of the BJP led coalition in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections and the dismail performance of Congress, I happened to be at a social gathering. Knowing perfectly well where my political loyalties lay a dear friend walked up to me and said “अब तो हिंदूं की सरकार आ गयी, अब अपने हिसाब से सब कर सकेंगे!”

What left me surprised was not that there was a Hindu Sarkar in place but the latter part of his statement. I did ask him what he was it that the previous governments had prevented him from doing?? He was definitely at a loss of words but was so sure that NDA was all set to empower the Hindus to take on the might of others!! BTW I was having this discussion with a professionally qualified supposedly well read individual.

4 years hence I have come to realise this supposedly well read group of people so vehemently putting across their point of views are PHD holders from the ‘Whatsapp University’; as Ravish Kumar so aptly defines it. Most news channels and newspaper are also feeding such phobia and false ideas about supposedly appeasement of minorities by the opposition parties.

What is the minority appeasement that they talk about?? Facts disprove any beneficial treatment meted out to the Muslims as has been pointed out by the Sachar Committee. Muslims were around 13.4% of the total population as per 2001 Census. However there were only 1.3% of them in the total number of students in all the IIM courses and only 3.3% in IITs. The presence of Muslims was found to be only 3% in the IAS, 1.8% in the IFS and 4% in the IPS. Share of Muslims in employment in various departments is abysmally low at all levels. In no state does the representation of Muslims in the government departments match their population share.

However one thing is for certain they is a mass who now represent a major vote bank that no political party wants to offend. So we have parties playing the supposedly ‘Soft Hinduvta’ and prefer not to be seen to close to the minorities especially the Muslims. We have the Prime Minister of our Country wearing all sorts of headgear but not The Skull Cap. I agree this is just symbolism but why this avoidance with symbols of Islam only??

India is sixth largest economy in the world and having a second largest population of Muslim after Indonesia. No party can afford to be just catering to one section of society and not be the voice of its minorities and in this case the Muslims of India.

The run up to 2019 we are once again seeing the rise of Hindu Identity well I too am proud of my Hindu Identity but my religion teaches me inclusion and not exclusion. There is no either-or for me but rather cohabitation with all the religion that make up India.

We can speculate on the results of 2019 Lok Sabha however what is non-negotiable in this mad rush in the ‘first past the post’ system is our duty to stand up and be the one for its weakest members and that is what the President of Indian National Congress Shri Rahul Gandhi recently said during one of his interactions.