In first speech as Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Venkaiah Naidu says he is an all-party man now

New Delhi: Newly sworn-in Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said that he is above party politics and is an all-party man now, but also told the Opposition that they may have a say when laws are debated but the government will finally have its way as it has the mandate.

File image of Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

File image of Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

"I will no longer talk about parties, which parties supported me, which did not. That is over. Now, I am an all-party man, above party politics... I will fulfil expectations about neutrality," Naidu said, in his first speech as the Rajya Sabha Chairman.

"The ruling party has the power, but Opposition must at least have its say. But, at the end of the day, democracy says that Opposition must have its say and the government must have its way because it is as per the mandate of the people and we must respect the mandate of people," he said.

Naidu said politicians must not look at each other as enemies but as "rivals" in their common endeavour of "working hard to strengthen the country and help people".

On the point of not passing a bill in din, as mentioned by several Opposition leaders, he said: "Some of the members have suggested the tradition of not passing a bill in din should be continued. I hope that there wouldn't be scope for such a situation. No din, and then no passage of a bill in din. Both can go together,"

"Democracy is not about numbers but to understand and appreciate each others' point of view. We must debate, discuss, decide and deliver."

He said that the best way of enforcing accountability of the executive by the Opposition is to "engage the government and corner them in an informed debate".

"Let the government propose, let the Opposition oppose, let the House dispose. That is the way forward," he said.

Naidu, 68, earlier took oath as India's 13th Vice-President, succeeding Hamid Ansari, who finished his decade-long two terms

Asking the members to use the time judiciously, Naidu said that he would be "more than happy" to extend the time of the sittings of the House.

He urged the media to "focus more on constructive debates" than "sensationalism, negativism, controversies and dramatics", which he said many members felt was the case.

"You report what is happening here. But at the same time report what is being constructively debated. That is the sacred duty of the media. Mere sensationalism alone is not going to (take us anywhere)," Naidu said.

Naidu recalled his "humble background" coming from a peasant's family "without a dynasty". He credited his political success to the "might" and "beauty" of the Indian Constitution.

"I would like to assure you that it shall be my endeavour to uphold the dignity of the office of Vice-President of India, Chairman of Rajya Sabha and live up to the trust you have reposed in me," he said.

Published Date: Aug 11, 2017 07:44 pm | Updated Date: Aug 11, 2017 07:44 pm

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