is another 13 December which is extremely significant for India’s Parliament. On 13 December 2001, the Parliament was attacked by terrorists who struck first on the Rajya Sabha side.
Consolidating the left and democratic forces Among several other factors behind the resounding success of parliamentary democracy in India is the consolidation of left and democratic forces. These forces have always stressed a certain ideology based on common humanity cutting across faiths, castes and regions of our country. The mainstream left parties such as the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Forward Block always swear that there is no alternative to parliamentary democracy in India. It was through the left parties that India got the vital lessons of managing a coalition politics and government, especially important today when India has decisively entered the era of coalition politics and government.
“Let the first 60 years of Parliament inspire India to have even better parliamentary standards free from blunders.”
Yet the late President Narayanan,
while addressing the Kerala Assembly, outlined the role played by Shri Achutya Menon of the Communist Party of India and who headed the coalition government. He quoted Shri Menon who expounded on the reasons behind the success of his coalition government, saying a coalition government could be successful if it had a common programme, a Code of Conduct for Ministers and above all the allocation of the portfolios for the Ministers done
The President of India speaking at the 60th anniversary of
the first sitting of the Parliament of India in Central Hall. Right: Dr B.R. Ambedkar.
by the Chief Minister in consultation with the leaders of the coalition. It is the legacy of consolidating
the left and democratic forces that was necessary for the defence of secularism, the economic upliftment of ordinary citizens and above all for the deepening of parliamentary democracy. In south Asia, people are acknowledging that a deficit of left politics is one of the reasons behind the repeated failure of democracy in several countries. The existence of left parties is woven around certain values and ideologies. If these values and ideologies decline, the edifice of parliamentary democracy would collapse. Other movements for social
198 | The Parliamentarian | 2012: Issue Three
justice and equality and the economic rights of the people launched in many parts of the country also nourished India’s grand struggle for democracy. These movements were often influenced by spiritual leaders and by foreign freedom movements, such as the French Revolution. One of the finest products of
India’s struggle for independence is that its Parliament has now completed 60 years.
Greater representation of women While celebrating the sixtieth anniversary it is important to be mindful of the challenges India still confronts. Issues raised by the
Members of the Rajya Sabha 60 years ago are still debated now in that House and across the world: environmental degradation, climate change, water scarcity, mid-day meal schemes for students to reduce drop- out rates and promote their health, sustainable development and many more issues raised in 1952 have become global issues. Resolving these issues could
require more sitting days and fewer sittings lost due to disorder and pandemonium. One of the methods to make parliamentary democracy stronger and more vibrant is to ensure greater representation of women in politics and public life. When Dr Ambedkar