The Parliament of Republic of Hindu College presented its annual budget for the present session on 29th October 2018. But the day was not without some political friction.
In a crowded auditorium amid cheers and jeers, the Republic of the Parliament of Hindu College presented its annual budget finally, on Monday. The budget session was delayed due to the non-submission of important documents in accordance with the Republic of Parliament of Hindu College. The inauguration-cum-budget session of the cabinet for this session was however, not organised without controversial intervention. The oath taking ceremony of the newly elected Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and cabinet ministers was interrupted by the questioning of the legitimacy in the claims of the Prime Minister Shreyash Mishra in his agendas as issued before the elections last month.
To revisit the election campaign, the Shreyash Mishra team was proud to wear the badge of reservation of 40% seats in the cabinet for women candidates as the highlight of his campaigning. Even in the Prime Ministerial Debate, the current Prime Minister had outrightly mentioned the same agenda in his speech. However, hours before the election day in the college, two candidates merged to form an unprecedented coalition. The coalition government, having won the highest number of votes, came to power after the elections. The same government was expected to work its thoughts into actions through the capturing of power. But as it appeared to the students sitting in the auditorium of the college on Monday, only two ministers and two secretaries are female. As opposed to the promised 40%, approximately 18% of the cabinet comprises of women now.
The list of ministers and secretaries was only displayed on the day of inauguration of the Parliament. As a group of students raised their voice against the deceptive promises and non-fulfillment of agendas — amongst them Ananya Bhardwaj, a Prime Ministerial candidate herself a month ago — the highly supervised environment of the auditorium grew tense. The repeated questions shouted out were about women representation in the cabinet. Many students agreed with the questioning of inappropriate representation. However, the dissent was met with fierce indifference and later ordered to die lest the dissenters be shown the way out of the auditorium. The Prime Minister addressed the audience then, explaining the questionable representation. Also, he stated that if any woman displays the initiative to work, he will never begrudge her the opportunity. He went on to discredit Ananya Bhardwaj for never volunteering to take the charge or responsibilty and instead only opposing and raising questions now for the sake of it.
As for the allocation of the budget, the maximum increment that can be allowed to a society is 25% as per the rules. While the Literary Society received only a tenth on the 25% increment from last year, with a hike of a mere ?50, the appeals to increase the budget were ignored in the second and third rounds of updates. Likewise, many other societies received minimum increments. All in all, the total budget allotted to all the activities was a significantly small amount. The Leader of Opposition, Naveen Kumar, said regardingrthe allocation of the budget, “The allocation of budget has been quite appropriate for the societies, keeping in mind that only 25% can be increased in each consecutive year.”
Even as it is very difficult for everyone to be satisfied with democratic decisions, the financial element just adds to the mess. As many societies maintained their appeals, and as those appeals were filtered by the supporters of the coalition, never to reach the higher authorities, the budget session came to an end.
As the speaker for the Parliament, a faculty member, announced departure of the session, the group of dissenters went up on the stage to discuss the betrayal. But the accountable man in question chose to walk away.
The dissent erupted in the evening with a renewed fervour as Ananya Bhardwaj posted the entire story of the same discussion with Shreyash Mishra on her Facebook timeline, with the words, “…it was said explicitly by me that if he doesn’t find women in his panel, he should approach me. And of course, he never did. E-mails were written to him along with messages by women of the college to which there weren’t any replies.”
Naveen Kumar, the Leader of the Opposition posted on his Facebook account, “He rightly pointed out the fact that previous governments have been no better in giving women representation. Alas, he had to follow the same legacy.” Shreyash Mishra also announced that this was the “maximum number of women representatives in the cabinet”. Also exonerating himself, he said that the team could not harvest the incentivised and necessary number of women candidates willing to take up positions of responsibility. Kumar also mentioned in the same post, “Progressivism was talked about in his agenda but it clearly has not been interpreted well for progressivism stands for inclusiveness. But Mr. Mishra was anyway, proud to have given the maximum token representation so far.”
In the same post, Kumar works on subtlety. “Congratulations to his team, for not standing up to their promises, for reassuring Hinduites that Politics and Power is not a woman’s job and for not letting the voices be heard. Congratulations Hinduites, patriarchy will once again drive your student body around the vicinity of the boys hostel.”
As the new cabinet celebrates power, all Hinduites look forward to their exercising the same. Kumar writes, “With a hope that the same will not happen with the other agendas mentioned in your manifesto, and voices of students will not be suppressed by calling it an opinion of ‘a particular group’, I, Congratulate your entire team once again for indeed a very successful inaugural session.”
Disclosure: Ananya Bhardwaj has previously worked with DU Beat as a correspondent.
Feature Image Credits: Kartik Chauhan for DU Beat