Former Union minister Margaret Alva today said the government has to reach out and build bridges and see that Parliament functions. "While the Opposition has to realise they have to cooperate and find answer, the initiative has to come from the government. The government has to reach out and work out to build bridges and see the Parliament functions," Alva told PTI in response to a question about recent disruptions in Parliament. She said the Opposition was as important as the government in Parliament and "You can't ignore the Opposition." Alva, who was speaking on the sidelines of the three-day Kolkata Literature Festival at the International Kolkata Book Fair ground here, said while the Parliament is all about debate and discussions and there has to be different perceptions among ruling and opposition sides, ultimately they have to work together. She said, "the PM does not belong to a party, he is the PM of India." The Congress yesterday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of "lowering the dignity" of his office by using "objectionable language" in Parliament saying this is "unbecoming" of a person holding the post. On Wednesday Congress MPs walked out of the House over Modis reply to the debate on the motion of thanks to the President for his address to the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament. Alva said the NDA government, headed by Modi, was taking the nation back not forward. "They are all the time talking about last 60 years, last 70 years. What the Congress did, what they did. But they don't talk about what they are doing.
Why are you so backward looking? Look forward," she said. Rather the government should tell the youth of India "what you (government) have to give," the former Governor reasoned. "Tell the young people how many jobs you create, tell women what you are doing to keep them secure. What is the big idea.. It is not in the past that you have to live, it is the vision of future that is what we expected from the Prime Minister," she said. Coming down heavily on Modi, she said, "He came in 2014 with tall promises ..but what he delivered is division, distrust, hatred, violence, unemployment - this is the legacy for four years." Recalling her 30-year experience in Parliament, Alva said, "There was tremendous debate, heated arguments. We fought but ultimately the Parliament functioned." She said Parliament was all about debate and discussions and "There has to be differences, there will be different perceptions but ultimately they all have to work together to find solutions to the country." Alva, who had worked with four Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh, talked about her book 'Courage & Commitment: An Autobiography' at the meet.
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