Why the ‘Mother of Democracy’ brooks no criticism

Bharat Bhushan

The belligerence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s MPs against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is not letting Parliament function. This is unprecedented, and especially galling because Parliament needs to pass the Budget in this session, irrespective of whether Gandhi apologises for comments made in the United Kingdom on the erosion of democracy in India.

Forget his allegation that the presiding officers switch off the microphones of Opposition leaders in Parliament, by disrupting Parliament for a week it appears that MPs from the Treasury Benches do not want the Opposition to speak at all — giving substance to Gandhi’s criticism. What is the threat to Indian democracy that Gandhi can recognise — and the BJP does not? Could it be that the BJP sees Gandhi’s criticism — of the partisan capture of State institutions, the misuse of government agencies against Opposition leaders, muting public criticism, compelling sections of the media to turn supine, and the lack of debate and discussion in Parliament — as being undemocratic?…