Somnath-da was a pillar of strength for all those who cherished constitutional values. He spared no words, was eloquent in upholding and seeking to strengthen the four fundamental, foundational pillars of our constitution: secular democracy, federalism, social justice, and economic self reliance.
Having won elections to the Lok Sabha 10 times, he was the voice of the working people and the oppressed for many decades in Parliament. He played a very big role in fine-tuning the procedures of Parliament while he was the Speaker. Very few people kept up that sort of standards in understanding the Constitution and confronting the judiciary in defence of the legislature.
In today’s conditions, his role as a Speaker is being all the more missed when we have instances of indiscriminate declaration of legislation as money Bills to deprive Rajya Sabha of its functioning, and the way legislations are smuggled through in the form of finance Bill. These sort of things, I am sure, Somnath-da would never have been permitted… would never have happened.
His wise counsel will also be sorely missed because we have a serious undermining of Parliamentary institution as well as procedures. Outside Parliament, the defence he had mounted for the cause of secular democracy will also be missed because today we have all these private armies on the rampage, mounting criminal assaults on religious minorities and Dalits. And combined with his Parliamentary experience and legal acumen, he was a big source of both knowledge and inspiration.
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