Never thought I would see new Parliament building in my lifetime: Former PM Deve Gowda
As the Parliament started to function from the new building from Tuesday, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, being one of its senior most members, advised younger colleagues that the Parliament has to be made use of for debates and not as a stage for protests, and to always come prepared to the House for informed discussion.
The 90-year-old veteran politician, who is also JD(S) patriarch, suggested that the bigger national parties should realise and acknowledge the contribution of smaller, regional parties and independent members to India's progress as a nation and its democracy.
Stating that Parliament should never forget the poor, farmers, oppressed, marginalised, minorities and the voiceless, he hoped that the 90 per cent of the new Parliament's time is spent discussing their needs and their development.
''Today we have moved from the old Parliament building to the new Parliament building. We carry a lot of memories of the old building to the new, and also carry the spirit of our great democracy to the new building,'' Gowda, who is the Member of Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, said in a statement.
Recalling his tenure as the chief minister of Karnataka, and as prime minister after landing in Delhi, he said, he had never thought that he would last this long in politics and had never thought he would see a new Parliament building in his lifetime. ''It is an indication of this nation's steady progress and the deepening of its democracy.'' The new Parliament building has more seats in the chambers of the two Houses and will in the near future see India represented better, Gowda said, adding, ''at this juncture of moving into a new House, being one of the senior most members, I would like to say four things to my younger colleagues.'' Parliament has to be made use of for debates and not as a stage for protests, the former PM said.
Gowda said in his entire legislative career, he only once for a very brief moment went to the well of the House and regretted for taking that decision.
Please make use of the Parliament library, he told MPs. ''Try to understand our legislative history well. When I came to Delhi in 1991, I had no friends — not that I have many now — I spent all my time reading in the library. I had done the same when I entered the Karnataka assembly in 1962. Please always come prepared to the House. Let there always be informed discussion.'' India is a multiparty democracy, Gowda said, as he noted that the bigger national parties should realise and acknowledge the contribution of smaller, regional parties and independent members to India's progress as a nation and its democracy.
Regional parties and the opposition have greatly contributed to the vibrancy of the country's democracy, he said.
''I also led a large 13-party coalition government in 1996 made up mostly of regional parties and we did not perform badly. Managing Indian diversity is like managing a large coalition. India in many ways is a large coalition. We have to have enormous patience to nurture that diversity.'' Gowda also expressed hope that the long innings in this new Parliament House will be happy, peaceful and productive.
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