Pranab Mukherjee has the opportunity to go down in history as a rare Indian President who’s not just an ornamental figure on a ceremonial chair, but a visionary with the power to alter the course of history of a nation. All he has to do is not sign that damn ordinance.
If you ask ‘what ordinance?’ I may not even blame you. After all, with the overdose of political news these days and most of it bad and depressing, you may not be hanging onto every word we news anchors utter. But for your sake, and for that of this country, I urge you to care. And collectively pray that Mr President justifies his status by choosing not to sign it. Because this is important. Let me explain it in as simple terms as I can.
You know how we have politicians who are felons and still continue to warm the benches of the Parliament and Assemblies? How in the past we have had shameless ‘leaders’ like Mohammed Shahabuddin who contested elections and won from behind bars? (Let’s not even go into why people actually voted)…
Well, to ease the mortified misery of us billion Indians, the Supreme Court had, in July this year, struck down a provision of the Representation of People Act which allows a convicted member of parliament or a state legislature to continue membership. Which means, get convicted, get out. Which is how it should be. Why should convicted felons be our lawmakers? It defies all logic and ethics, doesn’t it? So the Supreme Court did the right thing.
And then, guess what our shameless, unscrupulous, totally morally corrupt government did? To save their asses, they took the only route possible to defy the apex court – an ordinance that seeks to save convicted lawmakers from immediate disqualification. (An ordinance is a legal order or temporary law if you like, made by the government when Parliament is not in session. And while it has to be passed by the Parliament within six months and made a proper Act, it will be implemented as law until then.) It goes through if the President signs it.
Isn’t it incredible how blatantly shameless this move is? In promulgating this ordinance, the government has basically admitted to the political class being a bunch of criminals whose prime interest is to save its own ass. Literally. That’s what it means. And they don’t even care! So indifferent are they to the people that they represent – the teeming, powerless billion – that they just go right ahead and change the law to ensure criminals can continue to be Parliamentarians. It’s so brazen, I feel ashamed even just writing about it. What would the world think of us? World’s greatest democracy, my foot. We’re a cesspit run by snakes.
Thankfully, there is a silver lining and that is the fact that not just the principal opposition party BJP, but in fact even a couple of Congress leaders – namely Milind Deora and surprisingly even Digvijaya Singh – have voiced their opposition to this move, or at least questioned it.
Now it is all up to the revered man in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The man who commands so much respect across party lines for his intellect and wisdom. Let’s hope he rises above being a Congress man and shows the world that he is President of India.