PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed concern over the lack of wit and humour in parliamentary proceedings. He was speaking during a function at the Balayogi Auditorium in the Parliament House Library, to confer the Best Parliamentarian Awards on Arun Jaitley (BJP), Karan Singh (Congress) and Sharad Yadav (JD-U).
The awards were presented by President Pranab Mukherjee. Those present included Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
“Humour and wit are gradually fading away from parliamentary proceedings as members are apprehensive about what colour the 24×7 (media) would give to even one proverb which they utter,” Modi said. He recalled a dig at then agriculture minister Sharad Pawar by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (who was in the Opposition then), dubbing him Lalita Pawar (famous for her negative roles). He said Pawar thoroughly enjoyed the remark, but there was no proper coverage of the light banter.
Parliament, the PM said, did not run just on the basis of oration. He said: “As long as there is no confluence of oratory, action and leadership, neither Parliament can be influenced nor nations would be inspired.”
Modi underlined the need for feedback on the functioning of Parliament. He said such an exercise would hold a clue to what can be done to improve the system. He suggested that Lok Sabha should call a meeting of Assembly speakers to explore the possibility of giving such awards to legislators.
Modi hailed the President for his excellent memory and ability to recall historical events and detailed information. He said a half-an-hour talk with him is like reading a good book.
The President said he was touched by the way Modi had bowed his head at the steps of Parliament when he entered the building for the first time after his Lok Sabha victory.