If it is possible for such utterly dissimilar political formations such as the Congress, BJP, the Left, the Dravidian parties and TMC to come together on women’s reservation, it should be equally possible to forge a national consensus on more and more issues of vital national interest.This will ensure that the energies of the entire political establishment are applied to take India forward to its rightful destiny of occupying the first place in the comity of nations.
By V.Y. Kantak
Far more important than the momentous nature of the Women’s Reservation Bill in its own right are the vistas opened up for the emergence of a new political culture of mutual partnership and accommodation.
They are worth being taken note of not just by political scientists and academic scholars, but also by the intelligentsia of the country as well as the political class itself.
The first is that no political objective, however complex or contentious, need be difficult of achievement provided it is backed by political will which is seen to be unyielding and unwavering.
The country saw signs of this welcome tenacity of purpose in the way the UPA got the US-India nuclear deal through, even braving possible fall of the Government. It was said at that time that the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, was even prepared to resign if the deal was scuttled. And his steadfastness combined with the strong support he got from the Chairperson of the UPA and the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, paid off.
In the matter of women’s reservation, too, it is the prevailing impression that Sonia Gandhi put all her weight and authority behind the efforts to make sure that it was not given the go-by this time as it had been on so many occasions in the last 14-years and that nothing, but nothing, came in the way of its being tabled and passed in the Rajya Sabha.
This claim seems credible in view of the known tendency of the run-of-the-mill politicians of whichever party to turn tail and beat a retreat at the first sign of the kind of scandalous scenes witnessed in the Upper House on March 8.
That the Congress, which moved the Bill, stood its ground and saw to it that it was passed the next day must have had a lot to do with the prompting from behind the scenes of the higher reaches of the Congress leadership, at the behest of Sonia Gandhi.
This should not be taken to detract from the contribution to the successful outcome made by the BJP and the Left which put aside their seemingly unbridgeable differences in ideology and approach.
While the credit for creating a convergence of opinion in favor of passing the Bill belongs to them as well, the Congress has an edge because it bore the responsibility for the legislative and parliamentary groundwork leading to the introduction and passage.
The second encouraging feature of the entire episode is the assertion of the self-corrective characteristic of the democratic process itself.
Critics and skeptics, pinning their attention on agitations and protests, are apt to miss the fact that somehow the problems get solved and the polity rights itself.
The democratic path is bumpy, often painfully so, but makes it to the destination regardless of the twists and turns.
Or, to employ a different metaphor, democracy serves as a punch bag for malcontents who feel light and healthy after battering it, being sure that it will be there whenever they need it!
So also, the apparently strident and uncompromising opposition to the Bill will eventually move towards a common ground.
And this brings me to the grandest vista of all: If it is possible for such utterly dissimilar political formations such as the Congress, BJP, the Left, the Dravidian parties and TMC to come together on women’s reservation, it should be equally possible to forge a national consensus on more and more issues of vital national interest.
This will ensure that the energies of the entire political establishment are applied to take India forward to its rightful destiny of occupying the first place in the comity of nations.
Courtesy: Daily Excelsior