Pranab Mukherjee advises Narendra Modi to consider views of Opposition and those who didn't vote for his govt

  • Former president Pranab Mukherjee advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi that parliamentary democracy calls for taking everyone, including the Opposition, along

  • Mukherjee said that the government should also consider the views of those who may not have voted them to power

  • The former president also expressed support the increase in the number of Lok Sabha seats to 1,000

Former president Pranab Mukherjee advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi that parliamentary democracy calls for taking everyone, including the Opposition, along. His statement at the second Atal Bihari Vajpayee Memorial lecture organised by India Foundation on Monday came at a time when protests against the amended Citizenship Act are being witnessed across the country, inviting the Opposition’s ire.

 Pranab Mukherjee advises Narendra Modi to consider views of Opposition and those who didnt vote for his govt

Pranab Mukherjee at the 2nd Atal Bihari Vajpayee memorial lecture. ANI

"As a former parliamentarian with 48 years of experience, I have a piece of advice — numerical majority gives you the right to give a stable government, but please carry on with others. Lack of popular majority forbids you from a majoritarian government, that is the message and essence of our parliamentary democracy," stated Mukherjee.

Indirectly making a statement concerning the ruling party BJP, Mukherjee said that it should also consider the views of those who may not have voted them to power. “Every time a government has behaved on the contrary, the voter has punished the incumbent in elections that follow. We think we can do anything and everything when we have an overwhelming majority in legislature, but that should not be the case,” he said.

Talking on the Opposition’s role in the Parliament, Mukherjee raised concerns about the disruptions seen during Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha proceedings during the Winter Session. He called for disruptions to be prevented and “dealt with firmly”.

Mukherjee recalled the time when he suspended 11 MPs for taking money to put questions in the House and said, "Identify perpetual disruptors and it will be possible to handle them."

The former president also expressed support the increase in the number of Lok Sabha seats to 1,000, recalling that the last enhancement of seats in the Lok Sabha was in 1977, when India’s population was 55 crore.

"In 1977, population was 55 crore or 550 million whereas today it stands at 1.3 billion. There has been an embargo on increasing the seats in Parliament and in state assemblies till 2026. Even by 2011 census of population, the number of voters has increased per Lok Sabha constituency," Mukherjee said. He called for the removal of the freeze on number of seats through delimitation.

Mukherjee suggested that the Parliament’s Central Hall can be converted into the Lok Sabha and the current Lok Sabha premises be used for Rajya Sabha proceedings if the number of MPs in each of the Houses is increased. "If British can have 650 parliamentarians, Canada can have 443 and US 535 why can't we have 1,000?" asked Mukherjee.

He said, a number of members in each parliamentary standing Committee can be increased and power should be given to standing committees to scrutinise financial irregularities, flagged in Comptroller and Auditor General reports, if there are any. Mukherjee also called for an adequate number of women representatives in the Parliament.

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Updated Date: Dec 17, 2019 10:10:08 IST