Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led parliamentarians in expressing concern over repeated disruptions and unwillingness to hold discussions while asserting that Indias unflinching commitment to democracy was the main reason behind the countrys growing stature globally. While his sentiments were echoed by many others,Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley used the opportunity to point to the growing clamour for giving more powers to the states as mandated in a federal structure.
Initiating the debate in the Rajya Sabha on the completion of 60 years of the first sitting of Parliament,the PM asked the MPs to restore the dignity and decorum in the House.
While saying that the functioning of the House in the last 60 years proves that the trust reposed in it by the founding fathers of the Constitution had been fulfilled to a large extent,Singh said,That is not to say that we should not reflect with concern on the repeated disruptions of proceedings and a regrettable unwillingness,on occasion,to engage in informed discussion.
The PM,who is also the Leader of the House,rebutted the general impression that since the RS cant make or unmake governments,it is a superfluous body. Pointing out that the main reason for Indias growing stature is the countrys unflinching commitment to democracy,Singh said,It is therefore incumbent upon all of us to respect the great institutions of our democracy and respect the spirit of what is expected from the elected representatives.
He said that increasing participation of people in electoral process proved the faith that the populace has in the institutions of parliamentary democracy.
Referring to the unique role played by the Rajya Sabha,the Prime Minister said it is both a Council of States and a House of Elders.
Jaitley said a major challenge before the country was to improve polity and good governance,adding that there is no substitute to the credibility of parliamentary institution. We have challenges… we improve polity to improve governance. The power of politics. It influences the life of a nation and therefore the stature of the men who run the system should always measure up to the responsibility that the country has vested in them, he said.
He said once the norms of accountability improves,cynicism with regard to Parliament and parliamentary functioning would be brought to an end. There is no substitute to the credibility of parliamentary institution as far as its functioning is concerned, he said. Jaitley said since regional aspirations of the people are posing more challenges,the need today is to lean greater in favour of federalism.