Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday expressed his dismay with the functioning of the Rajya Sabha in the last session, saying it was unfortunate that the nation’s legislative bodies are being reduced to disruptive platforms.
Speaking at the launch of a book of his speeches since he became the vice-president, Naidu said that “instead of becoming effective forums of debate”, the nation’s legislatures “are being reduced to disruptive platforms”. He said that this “growing tendency, in my view, is a clear negation of the vision of our Constitutional makers”.
Calling such behaviour “an affront to the spirit of the Constitution of India”, Naidu said the disruptions demonstrate “apathy towards the hopes and aspirations of the people” and show “utter disregard for people’s mandate”.
The vice-president said that in the last session, even though he had appealed “several times” in the Rajya Sabha, “no concern was shown” and the House was not allowed to function for over a week to discuss and adopt the Motion of Thanks for the President’s address, as is “customary and a constitutional propriety” for both Houses of the Parliament.
Continuing with his expression of disappointment, Naidu said that “it is a matter of concern that political discourse is reaching a new low in recent years” asking the trend to be reversed “at the earliest”.
People in public life, Naidu said, “should understand that they are only rivals, not enemies”. He said leaders tell him that they have orders from their party bosses to disrupt the House over certain issues, which, the Vice-President said, is a “sad commentary on our system if the political leadership takes this kind of approach”.
Naidu said that the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, too has shared his concerns on the same issue with him, “but perhaps there are so many cross-currents that are at work”.
Agreeing with Naidu’s points, former President Pranab Mukherjee said that over the years, he has noticed “with grave concern, a decline in the culture of this very debate that keeps the spirit of Democracy alive”.
Calling the Parliament the “fountainhead of governance”, he said its function is to make laws and “debate, deliberate and decide on policies”.
Mukhejree also expressed displeasure over the “rise in identity based politics during the last three decades”, which he said “has diluted the very representative aspect of the Parliament”.