People’s campaign necessary to save parliamentary democracy: VP Naidu
Shri Naidu noted that protests on the floor of the legislative chambers are fine as long as they don’t breach the dignity and decorum of the House.
Expressing concern over the rising disruptions in the legislatures and the declining quality of the country's parliamentary democracy, Vice President of India and Chairman of Rajya Sabha Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu today called for a people's movement to influence the conduct of 5,000 MPs, MLAs and MLCs in the law-making bodies for making a difference from the present. Terming it as 'Mission 5000', Shri Naidu asserted that such a campaign is necessary to save the parliamentary democracy from losing its sheen and appeal.
Shri Naidu spoke at length on the consequences of disruptions and dysfunctional legislatures while delivering the first 'Pranab Mukherjee Memorial Lecture' on the theme 'Constitutionalism; Guarantor of Democracy and Inclusive Growth' organised by the 'Pranab Mukherjee Legacy Foundation' through video conferencing, on the occasion of the first death anniversary of the former President of India.
Referring to the over 50 years of the active public life of late Shri Pranab Mukherjee and his contributions in various capacities including as the Union Minister for 21 years and his meteoric rise from being an Upper Division Clerk to becoming the President of India, Shri Naidu described the late leader as 'the envy of every aspiring politician but the pride of the nation'.
Elaborating on the concept of 'Constitutionalism', Shri Naidu said it has emerged further to centuries of monarchy and aristocracy with attendant erosion of basic rights of the people and seeks to ensure governance based on a body of laws that flow from the provisions and the spirit of Constitutions, thereby preventing the arbitrariness and rule by the will and discretion of the governments.
Describing the Constitution of India as a profound statement of socio-economic objectives to be realised pursuing the path of participatory democracy, the Vice President stressed that "It is necessary to give voice to every citizen in governance which is democracy all about and to ensure the benefits of development to all, which is inclusive growth all about. Strict adherence to Constitutionalism only can ensure real democracy and inclusive growth".
Shri Naidu noted that protests on the floor of the legislative chambers are fine as long as they don't breach the dignity and decorum of the House. He said; "Protesting against the omissions and commissions of the governments on the floor of the legislatures is the right of the legislators. But the emotional underpinnings of such protests should not cross the limits of decency and decorum that should mark parliamentary democracy. To ensure this, I have been advocating that 'Let the Government propose, the Opposition oppose and the House dispose".
Stating that Constitutionalism checks the arbitrariness of the governments by ensuring wider stakeholder consultations, Shri Naidu observed "Dysfunctional legislatures prevent the much desired wider consultations before making of laws and framing of policies. Such disruptions negate the principle of accountability of the executive to the legislatures, thereby promoting the tendency of arbitrariness, which Constitutionalism seeks to checkmate".
Lamenting that ''Disrupted and dysfunctional legislatures can disrupt the lives of the people and the dreams of our nation'', Shri Naidu outlined the contours of the 'Mission 5000' aimed at changing the behaviour of the 5000 legislators who are elected from time to time. Under this mission, Shri Naidu urged the awakened citizens to identify the disruptors and question them during their visits to respective constituencies/areas; launch Mission 5000 social media handles and post the names of disruptors along with comments; hold meetings to discuss the functioning of legislatures and their members; write letters to news dailies voicing concern over the conduct of such disruptors; send messages of concern directly to such legislators and more importantly, to take into consideration the parliamentary performance and conduct of elected representatives while voting in the next elections.
In the 75th year of the country's Independence, Shri Naidu urged all the MPs, MLAs and MLCs across the country to resolve to not disrupt the Houses during this year. He further said; "Thereafter, I can assure them that it would become a 'habit' having sensed the fragrance of constructive conduct in the legislatures and the appreciation it would get from the media and the people at large".
Speaking on the agenda for the country for the next 25 years, Shri Naidu said that inclusive developmental strategies and polity should be ensured to eliminate the remnants of poverty, illiteracy, gender discrimination and inequities. He further hoped that the country would have a Prime Minister from the weaker sections besides half a dozen women Chief Ministers.
Shri Venkaiah Naidu further stressed the need to ensure that farming turns out to be a remunerative enterprise and farmers were freed from all kinds of exploitation. He also called for a major shift of workforce from agriculture by doubling the share of manufacturing in the GDP when free India turns 100 besides the country emerging as the preferred destination for investments and immigrants. Shri Naidu also referred to India getting its due place in the United Nations Security Council during this period.
Describing late Shri Pranab Mukherjee as endowed with a sharp mind and phenomenal memory and a consensus builder having chaired 95 Groups of Ministers on various contentious issues, Shri Naidu said the former President would have supported the recent undoing of retrospective taxation, which was introduced by him as the Finance Minister.
Referring to the former President's participation in an RSS training camp in Nagpur in 2018, Shri Naidu said that it was a statement of Pranab Mukherjee's ability to rise above the usual divide in the larger interest. Recalling the former President's definition of nationalism in Nagpur, Shri Naidu said that whoever is speaking of nationalism and patriotism, noting more is being asked for than what the former President said about it.
Shri Shekhar Dutt, former Governor of Chhattisgarh, Ms Sharmistha Mukherjee, daughter of former President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee and others were present during the event.
(With Inputs from PIB)