Legislators should have a “360 degree vision” as they are accountable for all their constituents, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said on Saturday.
“Your accountability is not only for those who voted or you but also for those who did not. Your vision and work should be aimed at 360 degrees. Importantly, you are not just legislators (upon election) but leaders who have to lead from the front,” the Speaker observed, delivering the keynote address at the second day’s session of the orientation programme for Andhra Pradesh legislators here.
Legislators should work for the welfare of not only their constituency but also the whole state, she said.
Noting that “respect is commanded and not demanded”, Mahajan asked legislators to be firm on moral, ethics and values.
“This will lay a good foundation for you in public life. These days, how to appear great has become a fad but how to become great is important,” she remarked.
Getting elected as a legislator was a “privilege and honour” to serve people.
“But that comes with a great deal of responsibility,” she reminded.
Stating that healthy and orderly debate (in Parliament and legislatures) was the key to the success of parliamentary democracy, the Speaker asked legislators, particularly the first-timers, to study various issues and come prepared to the House.
“Your range of issues should be broad. You need to be versatile but you can specialise in specific areas of your interest. Attend the House, be attentive and sit through the proceedings. You can learn substantially by watching senior members in the House,” Mahajan said.
She advised legislators to “do anything by the rule” and necessarily respect the Chair and the fellow members.
“Disrespecting the Chair is disrespecting the House,” she said.
“Keep in mind that decorum in the House is vital. Also, etiquette is important. That builds your image. It will also enhance politicians’ image among the public,” the Speaker noted.
Referring to the election of 98 first-time MLAs in the 175-member AP Assembly, Mahajan quipped, “You can mould them (into good members) as they are not seasoned politicians. It is difficult to change seasoned politicians.”
Union Minister for Minorities Welfare Najma Heptullah, AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Legislative Council Chairman A Chakrapani, Assembly Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao, Deputy Speaker Mandali Buddha Prasad and Legislative Affairs Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu attended the programme.