Parliamentary democracy, constitution major tasks: Mukherjee (Third Lead)

New Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS) India choosing to be a parliamentary democracy and drafting its own Constitution were major developments that the country witnessed after Independence from British in 1947, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday.

Interacting with a group of students at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in President’s Estate on the occasion of Teachers Day, he said: “Drafting of the Constitution was a major task done within three years after Independence.”

He said India’s diversity is its strength and the Constitution helped it maintain it all thorough.

“(Maintaining) diversity has been possible because of our Constitution,” he told the students of Classes 11 and 12 of the school.

Speaking on “politics in India since Independence”, the President underlined the challenges the country was facing during those early days of Indian nation.

“Communal harmony was a major challenge,” he said, adding that people were troubled because of Partition and hence communal tension built up.

Mukherjee, however, said that political leaders managed to maintain harmony among the people and expressed satisfaction that secularism was a part of life in India.

“Yes, there has been terror attacks (in the country) but thankfully it (terror) is not home grown. We are attacked from outside. We are victim of cross-border terrorism,” the President said.

“We certainly face attack but from cross-border terrorism. Success of our governance and administration lies in ensuring that home grown terrorism, which is the world’s biggest menace today, is not yet there in India,” he said, and added that “secularism is part of our life and it is still unfolding”.

Upon the economic aspect, the President emphasised on social performance for economic growth of India.

“Overall social performance should grow, which includes health infrastructure, social infrastructure among others, which is the requirement. Social distribution and growth with equity is also required,” he said.

On being asked by a student if India should have simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and assemblies as frequent elections are waste of public funds, the president said: “Correct, you are absolutely correct.”

“Today we are having throughout the year some election in some part of the country and normal activity of the government comes to a standstill because code of conduct to be followed by the political parties including the ruling party and the government. Therefore, there is an idea that how we can address this problem,” he said, adding that political leadership has to think of it.

“But there I would like to say as we have proved our mettle successfully implementing the parliamentary democracy, people, political parties, if they collectively think that we must come out of this, then we can change our code of conduct system. Election Commission can also put its mind what kind of code of conduct would not disrupt elections,” Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee said the basic point of parliamentary democracy is there is an amount of uncertainty.

He said executive is to depend on legislature and legislature is sometimes subjected to the recommendation of the prime minister.

“For instance in India four time the prime minister recommended dissolution of Lok Sabha and it was accepted, starting from 1971.

“So political … executive, legislative and overall political spectrum are to think that how to address this problem and we can avoid frequent election and ensure administrative and political stability,” he said.

It was not immediately clear if the president was backing the idea of simultaneous elections recently suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mukherjee apprised the students of development of various political parties and fronts after Independence.

He said that various groups went out of the Congress, which was a common front before the Independence, and floated many political outfits.

In India, September 5 is celebrated as Teachers’ Day, which is the birth anniversary of India’s second President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.

Radhakrishnan was above all a teacher and the occasion is a mark of tribute to the contribution made by teachers to the society.

–IANS

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