Actions speak louder than words.........by Pushpinder Singh Gill
When the noise becomes too loud, it clouds the mental capacity of the public to separate the wheat from the chaff. When the politicians start considering people as the instruments of their survival, they keep conveniently shifting the goalposts to issues where their ball is going rather than focusing on the primary goal post of socio-economic wellbeing.
Such times are the times to go back to the drawing board to review the state of affairs before a fresh course setting is done. The basic idea of political governance is about the process of decision-making to formulate policy and that of administrative governance is about the system of policy implementation.
Formulation and implementation of policies are purely functions of intent and wisdom, not of caste, creed, or nativity of the people on the steering wheel.A lot has been said about outsiders coming and influencing the decisions of governments and how this trend will harm the interests of the state, so much so that the entire election was fought by the parties on this plank trying to dissuade the people of Punjab from voting for the Aam Adami Party.
Even now when the government is firmly in place, the opposition is using this ‘coaching from outside’ card to whip up public sentiment against AAP. So, when the nominations for Rajya Sabha were made the issue again got highlighted and much noise was created around the names selected by the party as their candidates.
They were termed as non-Punjabis and outsiders who will not be able to raise the issues of the state in parliament. This issue got so much traction on social media and the IT cells of opposition circulated it as a sell-out of the interests of our state. The hype generated was such that the party lost the Sangrur parliamentary by-election.
The monsoon session of the parliament has just ended and it is the right time to evaluate the performance of each member of the parliament from all the parties to understand who has been able to raise the issues of Punjab in parliament. It will also help us see whether the apprehensions of the people and political parties were correct or unsound enough to hoodwink.
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Raghav Chadha's performance was by far the best amongst all the parliamentarians from the state. He not only raised the important issues of state, like receding groundwater, the plight of the farmers, the impact of GST, and rural inflation but he also introduced a private members bill in parliament to make the MSP on crops a legal right. In addition to raising the issues in parliament, Raghav Chadha met different ministers for follow-up action on the issues.
He met Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman for a financial package that is much needed to bring the state's finances back on track. He met the foreign minister S. Jaishanker to raise the issue of help to the family of a Sikh woman who had committed suicide recently in the United States.
Even other first-time MPs like Harbhajan Singh, Balbir Singh Seechewal, and Vikramjeet Sahni also raised some issues and made their presence felt in the house. Their role as a parliamentarian is appreciated but their job in the parliament can only help if they can implement some of the measures on the ground to make an actual difference in the lives of people.
In contrast to this, the son of the soil people chose in Sangrur to represent them in parliament, Simanjeet Singh Maan actually faltered when it was his time to deliver on the people's expectations. His speech in the lower house was on wildlife and he focussed on leveling allegations of the state killing tribals in fake encounters branded as Maoists and Naxals. He has always positioned himself as a champion of Punjab and Punjabis but chose to speak in English during his maiden speech.
Apart from this dismal show in parliament, he was seen courting controversies by terming Shahid-e-Azam Bhagat Singh as a terrorist and even asking the SGPC to remove his portrait from the Sikh museum being an atheist. He has further ignited a controversial debate by urging the people of Punjab to hoist Nishan Sahib rather than to hoist the tricolor on Independence Day.
His approach is not only divisive but misplaced as Nishan Sahib is an integral part of the Sikh religion and they bow their heads to Nishan Sahib in reverence hence no parallel can be drawn between these two symbols. It is a big disappointment to the people of the state, particularly to the people of Sangrur who chose this man as their representative in response to the alleged wrong choices of AAP.
The performance of the main opposition party, Congress, who had raised apprehensions about AAP MPs and termed it as a sell-out to people from Delhi, it was appalling, to say the least. Not even a single MP from congress contributed to the working of parliament during the entire session but they were busy seen participating in the so-called satyagraha to save Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi from the ED investigation.
Was this act not selling you to the wishes of Delhi leadership? Are they loyal to the issues of the people of Punjab who had elected them or to their Delhi leadership? It is an opportune moment to look at the actual performance of their leaders rather than coming under the influence of empty political rhetoric and judge for themselves who is actually working for the people.
Lastly, we come to the regional party of Punjab which claims to have the interests of our state of the foremost importance to them. Sukhbir Singh Badal who had made the release of Sikh prisoners his poll plank in Sangrur by poll and asked people to vote for his party's nominee so that she could go to parliament to raise this issue did not even bother to go to parliament and raise the Sikh prisoners’ issue himself.
He is a member of parliament and could have raised the issue himself if it was so important to him but he chose to skip the entire session for reasons best known to him. His wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal was present and even raised a few issues in parliament but the performance seemed labored as she herself was a member of the cabinet for more than seven years. She was a party to all the decisions taken by the government she was now seen opposing in parliament.
The purpose of this evaluation is to bring to the notice of our reader's demonstrated performance vis-a-vis promises made to people by political leaders. When we go to a doctor for treatment we do not ask for the place of his/her birth or from which state the doctor has obtained the degree but we ask about his or her professional reputation on how the patient benefits from the doctor's treatment.
When we admit our child in a school or college we again see if the teachers are professionally qualified to teach our kids rather than their religion or state of domicile. So why do politicians need to be of the same place of birth or appearance or religion? Why don't we see or elect them based on the fact that they are professionally qualified or dedicated to working for our cause? It is time to retrospect and not to sway by empty rhetoric in the name of emotions. It is more imperative than ever before to give time and support to our chosen representatives so that they can contribute to changing our state for the better.
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