‘Mission 5,000’ to save parliamentary democracy : Vice President M.V. Naidu

NEW DELHI: Vice President of India Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu expressed concern over rising disruptions in legislatures and the declining quality of India’s parliamentary democracy, calling for a people’s movement to influence the conduct of 5,000 MPs, MLAs and MLCs in law-making bodies. Calling it ‘Mission 5,000’, Naidu said such a campaign will save parliamentary democracy from losing its sheen.

Virtually delivering the first ‘Pranab Mukherjee Memorial Lecture’ on ‘Constitutionalism; Guarantor of Democracy and Inclusive Growth’, organised by the ‘Pranab Mukherjee Legacy Foundation’, Naidu remembered Mukherjee fondly. “More than the statistics about the long years of being in power, it was the contributions of Pranab da that made him unique in several ways. He deployed his sharp mind, phenomenal memory, deep understanding of our country’s diversity, history and civilisational values, and knowledge of statecraft to best use to various aspects of nation-building,” Naidu said, referring to Mukherjee as “a pathfinder in troubled situations” and a “consensus builder”.

“For both of us, India came first. When Pranab da became the first former President of India to address an RSS training camp at Nagpur, it was a profound statement of rising above the usual divide in the larger interest,” he said.

Naidu said the Constitution of India is a profound statement of socio-economic objectives to be realised while pursuing the path of participatory democracy.

He also said protests on the floor of legislative chambers are fine so long as they don’t breach the dignity and decorum of the House.

“Protesting against the omissions and commissions of the governments on the floor of the legislatures is the right of the legislators. But the emotional underpinnings of such protests should not cross the limits of decency and decorum that should mark parliamentary democracy. To ensure this, I have been advocating that ‘Let the government propose, the opposition oppose and the House dispose’,” he said.

He also said “dysfunctional legislatures” prevent wider consultations that should precede policy-making and such actions negate the principle of accountability of the executive to legislatures, promoting arbitrariness, which Constitutionalism seeks to checkmate.

Naidu also spoke on the country’s agenda for the next 25 years, stressing on inclusive developmental strategies and polity to eliminate what remains of poverty, illiteracy, gender discrimination and inequities.