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English Reading Comprehension Set 179

Directions (Q.1-5): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below. Certain words/phrases have been printed in bold to help you locate them.

 The recent elections to the Rajya Sabha to fill 57 vacant seats became notorious for alleged poaching by political parties among the ranks of their counterparts with charges of corruption blaring out loud against one another. While such charges are not new, their extent was magnified in this round since these elections were crucial for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress to decide who holds the scales in the Upper House. The former has found many of its pet legislative proposals stonewalled due to the lack of majority support in the House, while the latter has turned it into an important trench for its war of position against the ruling dispensation. While the Rajya Sabha has generally played second fiddle to the Lok Sabha during the periods of preponderance of a ruling regime in both the Houses, it has become an important platform of resistance to the majoritarianism of the Lok Sabha during the Janata regime(1977-79), National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule (1998-2004), UPA II (2009-2014) and in the last two years of NDA rule. While some instances of such resistance could be regarded as whimsical and grandstanding, overall they drew attention to the fact that electoral victory to the lower House may entitle a party to rule but not necessarily govern unless it reaches out and engages with the central concerns and interests embedded in the polity. This was clearly voiced in the resistance against the Prevention of Terrorism Bill in 2002, corruption charges against the government during 2011-14, and the proposed amendment to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act in 2015. But the Rajya Sabha is not merely meant to play such a salutary oppositional role. Unfortunately, there has not been much reflection with regard to the nature and purpose of this House in India after the brilliant debate in this regard in the Constituent Assembly. While it is important to highlight the case of corruption in the election of the members to this House, and resist the tendency of parties to pack the House with their high and mighties without consideration to their being worthy or not to play the representative role, it is imperative to draw attention to the role that the Rajya Sabha needs to play in the Indian body politic today. In the Constituent Assembly debates we find a set of four distinct reasons advanced in defence of the Rajya Sabha. First, some members of the Assembly saw it as a House of reflective and evaluative reasoning removed from the hurry-scurry of everyday life. N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar termed it as the House which can rein in “passions of the moment”. Lokanath Mishra described it as “a sobering House, a reviewing House, a House standing for quality and the members will be exercising their right to be heard on the merits of what they say, for their sobriety and knowledge of special problems; quantity, that is, their number, is not much of moment”. In the same vein, M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar thought that in such a platform of reflective consideration, “the genius of people may have full play”, and it can make place for people “who may not be able to win a popular mandate”. Clearly there was much elitism and condescension in such a conception of the House, that led to frequent potshots between members of both Houses in the early days of the Parliament that were eventually reined in by rules of Privilege Motion. Second, apart from the review and revaluation role, there was a broad consensus in the Assembly for the need for a second legislative chamber to initiate proposals for public policy, to elicit responsiveness from public authority, and to hold governments accountable. The constitutional provisions on division of work between the Houses clearly bear it out. However, in this conception, the Rajya Sabha largely duplicates the functions of the Lok Sabha and therefore, in the words of Abb? Siey?s, turns out to be“superfluous”. Such an understanding has led to repeated introduction of private members’ bills in the Lok Sabha for the abolition of the Rajya Sabha, as well as moves by the enthusiasts of the House to introduce bills to widen its jurisdiction. Needless to say, none of these proposals has made much headway. A third conception saw the House as the authoritative platform to accommodating diversity, although much of this consideration laid emphasis on political diversity reflecting federal arrangements, drawing parallels with the United States in the process. In this conception while the Lower House was meant to represent the citizen-community at large, the Upper House, primarily voted in by elected members of the State Assemblies, would represent the nation “as a differentiated whole”.

 Q.1 Why did the political parties allege one another?
 political parties had hidden propaganda
 because of unethical practices
 For poaching of vacant seats in Rajya Sabha
 For their involvement in coal Scam
 because they are divided in their policies
(In this passage, poaching of seats is mentioned)

Q.2 Who has played second fiddle to the Lok Sabha?
 Political parties
 Rajya Sabha
(It is mentioned that Rajya Sabha plays a second fiddle to the Lok shabha)

Q.3 A political party might get electoral victory in the lower house but what is necessary condition to Govern?
 By getting people with them
 If It justifies the majority
 If it demolishes the very foundation of the parliament
 unless it reaches out and engages with the central concerns and interests embedded in the polity.
 If Judiciary work with it in tandem.
(this expression is mentioned in the passage, hence in this context it is correct option)

Q.4 who described Rajya Sabha as “a sobering House, a reviewing House, a House standing for quality”
 Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
 Lokanath Mishra
 Pt. Jawahar lal Nehru
 Gopalaswami Ayyangar
 Dr. Rajendra Prasad
(It is mentioned in the passage)

Q.5 While the Lower House was meant to represent the citizen-community at large, the Upper House, primarily represented?
 It represented elected members of the parliament.
 It represented voice of many Citizens.
 It would represent the nation “as a differentiated whole”.
 the Upper House meant to give comfort and security to its permanent members.
 the Upper House meant to work with judiciary.
(this definition is described in the context of this passage)

Directions (Q.6-10) Find the Synonyms for these words given in this passage in bold. 

 Q.6 Counterparts
(counterpart- a person or thing that corresponds to or has the same function as another person or thing in a different place or situation.)

Q.7 Regime
(regime -a government, especially an authoritarian one.)

Q.8 Elitism
(elitism- the belief that a society or system should be led by an elite)

Q.9 Superfluous
(superfluous- unnecessary, especially through being more than enough.)

Q.10 Hurry-scurry
(hurry-scurry- with hurry and confusion.)

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