My problem is that I am still looking for morality in politics when practically all parties are going even beyond the point of sensitivity. I was hoping that they would have realised the mistake they had made in disturbing the delicate balance between the Centre and the States when they did away with the residential requirement for a Rajya Sabha member. My hunch was that the parties would not bring as far as possible to the upper house a person who was not ordinarily resident there. I have been proved wrong. The election held this March has shown that the parties have unashamedly imposed outsiders on the states despite the objection of local leaders. Some 70 members have been elected - some of them do not even know the language of the state which they represent. The Congress and the BJP are the two main culprits. They have sent to the Rajya Sabha such persons who could have never made it to the parliament otherwise. What weighed with the parties is difficult to say. But one thing clear is that local party workers have been ignored to accommodate those who used their political clout, vast resources and what not to get tickets. In fact, to be a Rajya Sabha member has now become easy. All you need is a nod from top party leaders like Mrs Sonia Gandhi in case of the Congress and L K Advani in case of the BJP. Since the Supreme Court accepted the new practice of having no secret ballot for the Rajya Sabha election, a person who gets the ticket does not have to fear about cross-voting. Now a member is required to show the ballot paper to the party in charge before casting his vote to prove that he has voted in the way he was directed. True, the parties have been able to enforce discipline. But they have also ensured that their leader could send anybody to the Rajya Sabha, whether a money-bag, a criminal or an unsocial element. It is no more a secret that the corporate sector or influential groups have been able to get their nominees in the house. The CBI has reportedly all the low-down but of what use when the government is a party to it? It is a pity that the political leaders have reduced the Rajya Sabha to a playground for their greed and gratification. They have deformed the house by resorting to such methods which was far from the mind of the constitution framers. In their scheme of things, there were two houses: one, the House of People (Lok Sabha) to represent the country on the whole and, two, the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) to ensure the say of states in the midst of chauvinism for the united India. The Rajya Sabha was meant to emphasise that India was a federation of states with an identity of their won which the Centre could not overwhelm. In fact, Dr B R Ambedkar who piloted the Constitution Bill was asked a direct question when the spheres of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were being earmarked. What about the states? His straight reply that the upper house was the house of states. This arrangement worked all right till the time the Congress Party introduced the practice of bringing members through the backdoor. Those defeated in the general election would be elected to the Rajya Sabha. It was unethical but the party hardly thought of morals when its needs were urgent. The Rajya Sabha began to lose its sheen from then onward. Copying the Congress, the other parties also began to reward the courtiers or the sycophants. Very few members made it to the house on merit. The conspiracy to do away with the residential requirement was hatched during the Atal Behari Vajpayee government. All political parties except the communists joined hands to pass a law, substituting the word, India, in place of state. Thus the qualification for the Rajya Sabha changed: a member need not be "ordinarily resident" of a state but of India. The objectives of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha got blurred. The states lost their entity, their right to say. A Punjab resident represented Assam or a Telugu-speaking person represented West Bengal. I was in the Rajya Sabha when the bill was passed despite my protest. After it was enacted, I challenged it in the Supreme Court. Its perverse judgement upheld the law and gave legitimacy to the political conspiracy. The court did not think that the Rajya Sabha was in any way important to sustain the federal character of the country. I have no doubt that a larger bench will one day undo the wrong to the basic structure of the federation. Maybe, one day the parties would themselves realise the folly of devaluing the Rajya Sabha. Till then the sham has to go on. E-mail: knayar@nation.com.pk