New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said that smooth functioning of the upper house was not the responsibility of the government alone. It was rather a joint responsibility of all members, he remarked and expressed concern over declining confidence of the people in Parliament.
Naidu, who convened a meeting of leaders of different parties in the Rajya Sabha, expressed his anguish over the disruptions in the last two sessions of the upper house and sought the cooperation of all parties for a ‘win-win’ monsoon session.
Eight Ministers and 23 leaders belonging to 20 parties attended the meeting convened by Naidu on Tuesday, a day ahead of the start of the monsoon session.
Referring to the happenings in the Rajya Sabha during the last session, Naidu said: “No party can bring the house to a standstill insisting on the government’s response even as the members and parties have a right to seek such a response. The better way would be to talk it out, walk out or vote out.
“If the government of the day is found to be unresponsive to genuine issues, it should be taken to the people instead of forcing adjournment of the house through persistent disruptions.”
Referring to feedback from the people during his tours across the country during the last 11 months, Naidu said that people are distressed over non-functional Parliament.
He also referred to a survey in which people have expressed their lack of trust and confidence in Parliament and political parties.
Naidu urged both the ruling and opposition parties to stop the ‘mutual blame game’ holding each other responsible for persistent disruptions and dysfunctional house.
“It is time to recalibrate the conventional position that it is the responsibility of the government to run the house and it should be seen as a shared responsibility,” said Naidu.
Referring to news reports about the meeting of opposition parties on Monday, Naidu said his hopes of a productive session were rekindled by their assertion of keenness for an effective monsoon session.
Noting that Parliament is a part of the political system, Naidu urged the leaders not to allow the coming Assembly elections derail the house.
“Parliament is the best forum for articulating different viewpoints and should be made effective use of instead of allowing political considerations play out in the house,” said Naidu while assuring the leaders that all issues would be allowed to be discussed as per the rules.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh observed that all the leaders endorsed the concerns and sentiments expressed by Naidu.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that over 90 per cent of the parties in the house always desired its smooth functioning and those agitated over issues of concern with respect to their states need to be appropriately reached out to by the government.
“The opposition has about 10 issues for discussion and some of these could be taken up during the monsoon session. The government should start with bills that have wider acceptance instead of taking up contentious issues,” said Azad.
Among those who attended the meeting were Union Ministers Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Vijay Goel, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma of Congress, Sharad Pawar (NCP), Sukhendu Sekhar Ray (TMC), Prasanna Acharya (BJD), Satish Chandra Mishra (BSP), Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena), Naresh Gujral (SAD), Y.S. Chowdary (TDP), K. Keshava Rao (TRS), T.K. Rangarajan (CPM) and D. Raja (CPI).