Outgoing Vice-President Hamid Ansari and NDA’s candidate for the post M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday urged MPs to maintain “proper personal conduct” as the world is watching them as a “source of inspiration”. “…the personal conduct and credibility of the parliamentary representative provides assurance to the public in the efficacy of the institutions of Parliamentary democracy,” said Ansari while giving away the Lokmat Parliamentary Awards 2017 in Vigyan Bhavan. Naidu, also present at the event, said Indian Parliamentarians should maintain discipline and good conduct because their behaviour is watched by everyone and others could emulate them as the “Indian parliamentary system is recognised and respected everywhere in the world”.
“The Opposition has to have its say, the government has to have its way… the purpose is to make the country stronger,” Naidu said. Praising BJP veteran L K Advani, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award, Naidu recalled that the BJP leader used to tell party parliamentarians that “ideology alone would not suffice, that there was need for proper conduct”. In his speech, Ansari, who is retiring on August 10, said the MPs should uphold the “spirit of democracy”, which he stressed was the “lifeblood” of Parliament. Urging the MPs to maintain high quality in debates, he said: “The discourse employed by the Parliamentarians in debating issues of law and policy in the House is not only an indicator of their personal capacities and integrity but also of their worldview and orientation. Parliamentarians must, therefore, strive to bring the highest possible level of clarity, erudition and civility to their public discourses.”
Urging MPs to prevent the “erosion of the vitality” of democracy, the Vice-President said they had to first “believe” in democracy themselves. “The Parliamentarian is a bridge between overarching national interests and the local dynamics and interests that affect the constituents who have elected him or her. Reconciling the two takes not only political dexterity, but also broader vision and foresight that should characterise his or her functioning,” he said.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury and the Samajwadi Party’s Jaya Bachchan were awarded as best parliamentarians in the Rajya Sabha, while RSP MP N K Premachandran and Congress member Sushmita Dev received the award from the Lok Sabha. The BJP’s Lok Sabha MP Meenakshi Lekhi and Congress Upper House member Rajani Patil received the best debutants award. Besides Advani, JD(U)’s Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadav received the lifetime achievement award. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, former Lok Sabha Speaker Shivraj Patil and senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge were among the leaders present at the event.