‘disruptions militating against the spirit of parliamentary democracy’
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Kolkata 6 December
The appearance of a “fourth D” is militating against the spirit of parliamentary democracy in the country, President Pranab Mukherjee said today speaking at the concluding session of the the platinum jubilee celebrations of the state Assembly. “I learnt in my childhood that debate, dissension and decision making are integral parts of the democratic system. It is regrettable that a fourth D has crept in in the form of disruption,” he said.
Mr Mukherjee called upon members of Treasury and Opposition benches of the legislatures all over the country about increasing the duration of the session instead of disrupting it. “Unless the time of deliberation on the affairs of the state is increased and the disruptions which eat into this time are stopped, the people’s representatives would be failing in their duty to the people,” he said.
“After all, a gram sabha candidate or a Lok Sabha contestant or a presidential candidate has to beg for votes,” the President said. “Cutting short the time of the session is a recent phenomena,” Mr Mukherjee member of both the Houses from 1969 till 2012, felt.
“While the first LS was in session for 677 days, a later one was held for only 332 days.”he pointed out. “The budget debate continued for days in the first LS but the deliberations on the budget passed with Mr P Chidambaram as the Union finance minister was of a much shorter duration though the latter comprised a far larger sum in terms of expenditure and taxes” he said underscoring his point.
“The Opposition should keep in mind that it is its duty to expose the loopholes in the working of the government and not to disrupt the proceedings of the House.” Certifying that the functioning of the state’s Assembly is better he said “ The state Assembly in Himachal has not had a single session disrupted while some village councils in Arunachal decide in their meetings to speak in one voice and mete out justice.”
Tracing how legislations spread all over the nation from Kolkata as the city was the Capital till 1911, the President recalled his personal relations with this House. “Not only was I voted to the Rajya Sabha by members of this House on four occasions, my father was a member of the now defunct legislative council while my son started his parliamentary career from here” he said. “Three members of the House ~ Shahid Suhrawardy, Khaza Nazimuddin and Mohammad Ali later Pakistan PMs,” he said. “It was here that Siddhartha Shankar Ray then a member of the Opposition contended the Bill to cede Berubari to Pakistan as the Centre had not consulted the state about it and prevented the piece of land from being given away,” he said.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that as a regional party, the TMC endorsed the foreign policy of the Union government. It is in this way, regionalism and nationalism can go hand in hand, she said.
Miss Banerjee appealed to the President for electoral reforms to make parties transparent. Also, Judicial, administrative and economic reforms would ensure a stronger foundation for parliamentary democracy, she said.