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PARLIAMENTARY REPORT


(BSP) wanted the House to take a resolve to remove social and economic disparity from the country. He pointed out that the weaker sections of society were not getting due representation from the Parliament. Shri Basudeb Acharia (CPI-


M) argued that inequities had grown rather than diminished and unless there was state funding of elections, it would be difficult to curb the use of the money power which was influencing elections. He said starvation and illiteracy continued to be the bane of Indian democracy. Shri Anant Gangaram Geete (Shiv Sena) thanked the common people of the country, the poor, the farmers and the labourers for showing abiding faith in democracy, owing to which democracy had been successful all through these 60 years and would continue to be successful for centuries to come. He said Parliament had stood united whenever the country was attacked or ran into crisis or the security came under threat. Shri Sharad Pawar (NCP) agreed that there was a need to take some steps to alleviate poverty and to protect the interest of the farmers. Shri S.D. Shariq (J&KNC) said


good words about democracy would not work unless there was a feeling of the pains suffered by the poor and serious efforts made to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, communalism and social inequality. The Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs and Minister of State in the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Shri E. Ahamed (IUML) felt that a hugely diversified country like India could be held together only through democracy. Those sections of people who were disadvantaged and those who had been alienated should be given the opportunity to participate in the building of the nation. Shri P. K. Majumdar (RSP) saluted the people of India for keeping parliamentary democracy alive


INDIA


and strengthening it despite of facing immense hurdles and provocations in the last 60 long years. He pressed for urgently bringing electoral reforms to keep the election process free from money and corruption. Shri Asaduddin Owaisi


(AIMEIM) requested the government to begin an institutionalized dialogue between the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition to smoothly complete the outstanding agenda. He requested that members maintained the decorum and dignity of the House and not disrupt its proceedings, as well as giving adequate representation to the weaker sections, the oppressed community and the minorities. Shri Jose K. Mani (KC-M) said the laws made by Parliament in the last 60 years had far reaching impact in the society. Referring to the delegation of powers by the government to non-elected institutions, he pointed out the lack of a viable parliamentary oversight over their functioning. He suggested strengthening the committee system and devoting more time by the House for law making. For Shri Inder Singh Namdhari (Independent), keeping the country together in spite of so many languages, religions, castes and a huge population was the greatest achievement. Establishing an equitable society remained a challenge. He felt that the Speaker should be independent of the political affiliation and the impartiality of the Office of Speaker could be ensured if it was above party politics and the seat was not contested by any other political party. Dr Shashi Tharoor (INC) said


the Parliament reflected India’s great diversity and embodied the idea that India was a country where differences could be transcended to find a consensus.


212 | The Parliamentarian | 2012: Issue Three


Only by fulfilling the needs of the people, and using the Parliament to work for the people, could the members of Parliament confront the challenge thrown by some civil society representatives who questioned the Parliament’s right to represent the people. The Leader of the Opposition


in the Lok Sabha, Smt. Sushma Swaraj (BJP) said so far as the journey of social thinking was


Smt. Sushma Swaraj, MP


concerned, the participation of all the sections of the society had grown in the House. As far as the journey of the political thinking was concerned, the House witnessed the change from a single political party government to coalition governments. The rise of regional political parties was the outcome of this political thinking and in the majority of States there were governments of different political parties. She, however, felt sorry that the representation of women in the House had not increased. While women were given 33 per cent reservation in local self-government bodies in rural and urban areas by passing constitution amendments bills, it was yet to be done in the Legislative Assemblies and the Lok Sabha. She hoped that the 15th Lok Sabha would be able to bring an end to this imbalance in terms of women representation. She was proud that the House stood collectively as a nation in time of crisis and that transfer of power in India had always been


through votes and not through gun and bullet. She believed challenges and problems facing the nation could be overcome by sitting together and not by launching an onslaught on democracy or Parliament. The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said the Lok Sabha was a true representation of the unique diversity and genius of the Indian people. The House voiced the tribulations of ordinary Indians and provided help by enacting laws that translated the social and economic ideals of the nation into practical reality. The Lok Sabha had scripted the development of the nation through debate and discourse tempered by the twin imperatives of idealism and pragmatism. The citizens were empowered by providing the Rights to Information, Education and Minimum Employment. Affirmative measures were taken to help the weaker sections of our society including the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women. In times of calamity or crisis, Parliament had always demonstrated the ability to reflect the collective resolve of the nation and show solidarity with the people and the government. The Rules of Procedure and Conduct that had collectively evolved should be honoured in letter and spirit. Public disenchantment would only grow unless some ways were found to resolve the growing impasse in the functioning of Parliament. Democracy was based on the notion of a popular mandate but it should not be constructed as a populist mandate. Members had a sacred and solemn responsibility to the people who had elected them, and it must be kept in mind that the conduct and the actions the members took would determine the state of the nation, said the Prime Minister. The Speaker in her valedictory reference said this was a time


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