By T.J.S.George, 21/08/2010
There are no outstanding parliamentarians in India, but there is an Outstanding Parliamentarian Award, duly conferred by the President upon a handpicked MP. At last week's award ceremony, Vice President Hamid Ansari spoke a few honest words. Lung power had replaced oratorical skills, he said, and discussions were drowned in noise and disruption. "It detracts from the dignity of Parliament and invites public scorn".
This body of men and women whom the public of India scorns has now given unto themselves a three-fold increase in salary and allowances. They brayed for more: a five-fold increase. To describe them in English as a shameless lot will not bring out their despicableness in full. The Hindi term is slightly better: 'Besharam log'.
It is so typical of the political class that Lalu Prasad Yadav should have been the most animated speaker demanding the pay hike. This is a man who not only got embroiled in serial misappropriation cases during his chief ministership in Bihar; he allowed kidnapping, especially of well-to-do doctors, to become the most paying industry in his state. He escaped from punishment only by bargaining with an amoral Congress. Last March, for example, he declared that he would not withdraw support from the Manmohan Singh Government over the Women's Bill. As if on cue, the CBI took measures to neutralise a pending corruption case against him.
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