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The Lost Glory of Rajya Sabha

By   /  March 12, 2018  /  Comments Off on The Lost Glory of Rajya Sabha

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Rajya Sabha or Council of States is an important part of Indian parliamentary system. But clearly the House of Elders, as Rajya Sabha is often called, has lost its shine. But not for the disruptions as it is witnessing with unfailing regularity. It is because of the fact that now the House of Elders is being used as the backdoor entry point for failed politicians, who cannot win elections. So the august house which was meant to be meeting point of best intellectual minds has now turned in to another political battlefield where petty politics, more often than not, dominates the proceedings, not the State or welfare of the citizens. This practice is being indulged by all political parties. For their benefits, the political parties even amended the clause that specified that a candidate contesting from a particular State should be a permanent resident of the place. Because of this clause, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is still a resident of Assam. Former President Pranab Mukherjee was a resident of Gujarat for long period as the electorate of his own state West Bengal rejected his candidature on several occasions. But all these were done keeping national interest in mind. Dr. Manmohan Singh was made to contest from Assam as the then Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao handpicked him to be finance minister of his government. Before becoming the finance minister the renowned economist had no connection with politics. So, as per the provisions of Indian Constitution, He had to be elected in parliament within six months of assuming charge. At that time as a Rajya Sabha seat was vacant in Assam, he was asked to contest from the Northeastern state. Similarly, Pranab Mukherjee was the most trusted lieutenant of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1980 general elections, Mukherjee contested from Bolpur parliamentary constituency and lost. Later, he was made the union finance minister. So to remain in Union Cabinet he shifted from Bengal to Gujarat.
But that provision is no longer in existence at present. Finding it difficult to make leaders from one state to another as permanent residents that particular clause was deleted. Since then the floodgate has opened. Politicians have made a bee line to make entry to Parliament from any State after being rejected by people. So, Rajya Sabha now can safely be termed as a dumping ground of politicians who are out of favour of the electorate. Take the case of former union finance minister P. Chidambaram. Predicting the prevailing mood of the people of his constituency Shivkashi in Tamilnadu, he opted out of electoral battle in 2014. But within two years, he made a re-entry to parliament from Maharashtra as member of the upper house. Similarly, apart from Dr. Manmohan Singh, a member of erstwhile royal family of Assam Sanjay Singh is also an MP from Assam in Rajya Sabha. Is there any shortage of eligible candidates from Assam? This question should be asked to those who gave him the ticket to contest from Assam. In BJP too, there are many such instances. Taking advantage of the situation, apart from politicians, many businessmen have also entered Parliament. Most famous among them is Vijay Mallya, who is presently cooling his heels in London after duping Indian banks of INR 9000 crore. So, the time has now come for the policy makers to work together to restore the lost glory of the Rajya Sabha.

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