Criticism being ineffective in democracy
Criticism being ineffective in democracy. Criticism is the soul of democracy. If the form of this soul is distorted then democracy will also be distorted. Criticism should be constructive so that ‘Constraint and Balance’ can be maintained in various constitutional bodies and the government can be responsible, sensitive and transparent. In democracy, both the ruling and the opposition are elected by the public. Only by getting more votes does the government not have the right to implement its own party’s program and bypasses the opposition. The ‘Brexit’ experience in England is a recent example. Criticism is the primary responsibility of opposition parties and the press. There is a crisis of ideology, leadership and party democracy in the main opposition Congress, which has increased internal strife. The same situation is also with other parties. A large part of the media is also gradually being divided between the ruling and the opposition, due to which their credibility is also under question. There is no doubt that democratic criticism has declined. The nature of criticism has become accusatory. It seems that accusing the government has remained the opposition’s only objective. This has caused two losses. One, the government does not know what exactly it did wrong and how it could be improved? Second, the public has recognized that the opposing parties, politicians and a large section of the media have left the constructive and positive role and shifted to negative and subversive roles. As a result, legitimate criticisms also come under suspicion. The country, government and opposition have all suffered due to the accusation of criticism. Criticism has become subjective. Instead of criticizing the government’s policies, programs and decisions, the leadership or the individual are being attacked. It is this disorientation that questions the significance of criticism. There has been a serious decline in language from above. It shows how far the critic has fallen from intellectualism. They do not have ideas, facts or linguistic manners. Argumentative expression has been replaced by power-show in protesting in state assemblies. The public sees this as a silent and helpless spectator. She does not know how to reconcile her allegiance to democracy and the worsening tone of democratic criticism.
Criticizing demonetisation in November 2016, former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh called it ‘organized and legal plunder’ and called ‘GST’ as ‘tax-terrorism’. Rahul Gandhi called the same ‘GST’ Gabbar Singh Tax which was supported by the Congress Party in Parliament itself and which was played by Manmohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha. Recently, Manmohan Singh criticized Modi for not paying attention to structural reforms, but he forgot that in his ten-year long tenure, the environment created by liberalization, privatization and globalization, accepted by Narasimha Rao, he did not deal with land-related laws, labor- Did not make desired reforms in law and mandi-act so that agriculture and ‘micro, small and medium enterprises’ could not develop. Such irrational criticisms had a profound impact on the public which led to a crushing defeat of the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. There is talk of economic slowdown at this time also. According to critics, India’s exports decreased by six percent in August 2019, but they concealed that imports from abroad also decreased by 13.45 percent, which improved the trade balance. Likewise, inflation was less than four percent. Nevertheless, due to these criticisms, the Modi government showed flexibility in its decisions, whether it is a decision to cut corporate tax or other steps taken before it.
How did the reliability of criticism increase? For this, political parties will have to take at least three steps. First, they allot their MPs and MLAs various subjects or ministries and inspire them to specialize in the functioning of these subjects or ministries. This will make the party experts in related ministries or subjects, who will be able to criticize the government logically. This will make the nature of criticism not person-centric but will focus on policies, programs and decisions which will alert the government, educate the public and increase the credibility of the opposition.
Second, the parties will have to increase political harmony along with political competition. In democracy, protest and criticism are constitutionally recognized. Protest does not mean enmity, criticism does not mean estrangement. Efforts will have to be made to maintain mutual harmony in various parties and leaders inside and outside the House. In this, the ruling party will always have to take the initiative. It has to understand that the opposition is also following its constitutional obligations which should be respected. Opposition to the government does not mean opposition to the country. Voices of protest should not be sidelined. The government should keep a constant dialogue with the opposition on serious issues and in the calm atmosphere, listen to the opposition and explain their side. Since change of power is inevitable in a democracy, the party which is in opposition today will be in the ruling party tomorrow. It will be a pleasant feeling to play a role in the democratic system and its institutions when there is harmony in political parties.
Criticism is important in a democracy, but for its credibility, knowledge, expertise, experience and decency in the people’s representatives is inevitable. Therefore, under the third step, political parties will also have to pay attention to linguistic etiquette. The Constitution protects the expressions of MPs and MLAs in Parliament and Legislatures, but does not mean that MPs and MLAs misuse it. The decline in language not only spoils the whole atmosphere but also tarnishes the parliamentary process. The live broadcast of parliamentary proceedings gives the whole country witness to parliamentary expressions and behavior. It becomes a model for the public and they follow it. They understand that they will have nothing like MPs-MLAs. This happens because of corrupt police. The common citizen is disturbed, while the culprits escape.