Online plea by 17,000 people, including top industrialists, to MPs goes in vain

An impassioned online petition signed by some 17,000 persons, including top industrialists Rahul Bajaj, Adi Godrej and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw to end the gridlock of continuous Parliamentry disruptions has gone in vain as the opposition Congress party continued its stalling tactics to the penultimate day of the monsoon session.

The petition signed by 'disheartened' public, including chieftains of industry, urges all political parties to end the logjam and begin a consultative and collaborative process for the passage of key reforms bills.

Started by industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) five days ago, the online petition has been signed by top business leaders such as Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan, Godrej Group chairman Adi Godrej, Bajaj Auto chairman Rahul Bajaj, Hero Group's Sunil Kant Munjal and Pawan Munjal and Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw so far.

The list also includes several prominent citizens from various walks of lives, such as IIT Madras' Ashok Jhunjhunwala, IIM Ahmedabad's Piyush Kumar Sinha, Dr Naresh Trehan, Dr Ashok Seth and some diplomats.

"Parliamentary protests are not unknown. Parliamentary stalemates can never be permanent. Parliamentary paralysis can lead to weakening of India's democracy. There is a spread of political power between the opposition and the government in Indian Parliament. Both have an important role to play. Both have responsibility to discuss and resolve political issues. Political consensus represents the best practice in Indian democracy," said the petition

Terming recent events as "disheartening," the petition says that MPs have the potential of eroding popular faith in Parliament.

"Perpetual disruption can never be the rule. Street demonstrations against the Chair of the Lower House are of unprecedented scale. Important laws like the Constitution amendments in Goods and Services Tax which improves India's growth rate is held up. GST has taken a long time in coming and has taken years of consensus building, and CII has time and again reiterated that this could significantly contribute to India's and States' growth," says the petition.

"India has to grow in order to alleviate poverty and create jobs. Parliament did not get an opportunity to discuss important issues, like floods, security issues, other economic priorities, etc. It is only a debate which brings out the facts to enable people to form a fair and objective opinion on important matters," the petitioners point out.

The government's attempts to push through the GST bill in Rajya Sabha were stalled by the Congress disrupting the House on Tuesday and Wednesday amidst heated exchanges between finance minister Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj from the government and opposition Congress members on the other side.

The Parliament session will end tomorrow without transacting any major business.