Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said it is the country, not the government, which loses the most due to disruptions in Parliament. He appealed for the effective functioning of the both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, PTI reported. The ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament ends August 10.
Modi also said it is the duty of each parliamentarian to express the concerns of the common man in Parliament, and force the government to take steps for their welfare. “It is important for MPs to express the voice of the poor and the marginalised,” Modi said at an event in the central hall of Parliament to confer the outstanding parliamentarian awards for the years 2014 to 2017. “Sadly, when there is noise and chaos in the House, MPs are not able to speak and the loss is of the entire nation.”
Parliament is a forum where pressing matters can be debated and the government can even be criticised, the prime minister said. “The words spoken in Parliament are on record and they will be a part of the history books,” Modi said. “That is why, it is important for Parliament to function effectively.”
The Rajya Sabha has been marred by disruptions over the last two days. On Wednesday, Rajya Sabha chairperson Venkaiah Naidu adjourned the House till Thursday after several Opposition MPs protested against the final draft of the National Register of Citizens in Assam, and demanded that Modi answer their questions.
Much of the earlier Budget Session of Parliament had also been adjourned due to disruptions by Opposition parties. The Budget Session was the least productive since 2000, according to PRS Legislative Research, with the Lok Sabha working for 21% of the scheduled time and the Rajya Sabha for 27%.
Among those legislators who received awards on Wednesday were Bharatiya Janata Party MPs Najma Heptullah and Hukmdev Narayan Yadav, Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad, Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi and Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab.
Disruptions not good for democracy: Venkaiah Naidu
Naidu also reiterated the prime minister’s comments after the event on Wednesday. “Let the government propose, the opposition oppose and the House dispose, you cannot dictate to the House...that is the spirit of parliamentary democracy,” he said, according to PTI. “It will flourish if the government is responsive and the opposition responsible. If you follow this, parliamentary democracy will definitely succeed.”
“The opposition must have its say and the government must have its way...that’s the only way,” he added. “If you are agitated, concerned, you can raise any issue in parliament. What you can do...effectively articulate... [if you are] not happy, walkout; but no breakout, otherwise democracy will be all out.”
He added that he is embarrassed when MPs disrupt proceedings when children are in the visitors’ gallery. “This situation is not good for our democracy. We have to conduct ourselves in such a manner that the prestige, decency and decorum of Parliament is maintained and see to it that people respect us because of our calibre, talent, and conduct and not because of anything else,” he added.