Disruption of Parliament unacceptable: Pranab

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New Delhi, Dec 8 (IANS) Expressing strong displeasure over the continued logjam in Parliament, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said “disruption in Parliament is totally unacceptable”.

Delivering the Defence Estate Day Lecture 2016 here on ‘Reforms for a stronger democracy’, the President said people send their representatives to Parliament to work for the country and not to agitate.

He expressed concern that disruption of parliamentary work has become a practice.

“Do your job,” he told the MPs.

“Dharnas can be organised anywhere else,” he said asking all concerned to debate and discuss issues of public importance in the House.

He said he was not criticising any particular political party but all concerned must work together to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament.

He said only a minority disrupts parliamentary proceedings by entering the well of the House and raising slogans, when the majority was ready for a debate.

“The majority never participates in disruptions. Only the minority comes to the well, shouts slogans, stops proceeding and creates a situation,” Mukherjee said.

The President also favoured simultaneous polls to Lok Sabha and state assemblies, and said India needed electoral reforms.

“I am convinced that the country needs electoral reforms. We should (first) have a public debate and thereafter make the reforms,” he said.

Appreciating the country’s parliamentary democracy, Mukherjee said frequent elections are a “costly affair” and should be done away with.

“We are ready to pay the price for democracy but it should not be on the cost of development,” he said, adding that the country should find a way out to hold simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies.

Mukherjee also shared his own experience when he had urged the countrymen to vote decisively as frequent elections, because of hung Parliament, were causing lots of problems for the country.

“I had urged the nation to vote diligently and I was criticised by some political quarters,” he said.

President Mukherjee also spoke about low representation of women in representative bodies.

“The Women’s Reservation Bill is pending for a long time in Parliament and representation of women is abysmally low. It is totally unacceptable,” he added.

“Political parties are not doing enough to give adequate representation to women,” he said, adding this idea should be explored.

Ending his speech, the President said he did not use the written text but has “spoken frankly”.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Minister of State for Defence Dr Subhash Bhamre were also present.

–IANS

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