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VP urges MLAs to immobilise remote controls to contribute max in Parliament

The Vice President lamented that wit, humour, and sarcasm, which were once hallmarks of parliamentary and legislative functioning, were disappearing

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar

Press Trust of India Thiruvananthapuram
Expressing concern over the growing tendency to "weaponise disruption and disturbance as a political strategy" in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday urged MPs and MLAs to "immobilise their remote controls" to contribute their maximum in the temples of democracy.
Dhankar, also Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, said there was widespread pain and anguish among people over the growing tendency to "weaponise" disruption and disturbance as a political strategy in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies.
"Legislatures in particular -- I leave a thought with you -- can we weaponise as a political strategy disruption and disturbance of the House?" Dhankar asked while inaugurating the silver jubilee celebrations of Kerala Legislative Assembly building-Niyamasabha here.
He said people were asking why Parliament and legislatures are not debating and discussing and "why we are spending crores of rupees only for disturbance?"

Dhankar appealed to legislators and presiding officers to urgently address this malaise.
"I preside over the Rajya Sabha. Each member of the Rajya Sabha is very talented. They bring on the table a huge experience. They need to immobilise their remote controls so that they contribute maximum in the Rajya Sabha, maximum in Parliament, maximum in the legislature," the Vice President said.
Dhankar urged the Assembly Speakers and Leaders of the Houses to create a national consensus that the temples of democracy will be used for deliberations, debate, dialogue, and discussion.
"Trust me, democracy will be threatened if these temples of democracy do not do their job, and the job will be done somewhere else," he opined.
Dhankar asked the legislatures to draw inspiration from the Constituent Assembly (the country's first body of legislators who drafted the Constitution) which dealt with many complex issues without any disruptions, and underlined that effective and productive legislature functioning is the safest guarantee to blossoming and preserving democratic values along with holding executive accountable.
He also called for stamping out the "worrisome trend of intolerance towards the other point of view".
Stressing that in a democracy not all issues can be evaluated via a partisan prism, the Vice President urged everyone to rise above one's partial stance, giving primacy to the national interest.
He said the legislators should "take off their political glasses sometimes" when issues concerning the nation are taken up for discussion in Parliament and State Assemblies.
The Vice President lamented that wit, humour, and sarcasm, which were once hallmarks of parliamentary and legislative functioning, were disappearing.
"Where is the wit, where is the humour, where is the sarcasm, and where is the positive ridicule that used to be there in Parliament and in Legislatures? It is missing. It has to be an explosion of talent, wit, humour, ideas, innovations...," Dhankar said, referring to instances of such exchanges that used to happen between the stalwarts in the past.
The Vice President noted that the Constitution provides the privilege of freedom of speech within the precincts of the House, however, he cautioned that this freedom should be utilised for a healthy debate to sustain a vibrant democratic tradition, and not for disruptive purposes.
"Parliament and legislatures are not platforms of free fall of unverified information," he pointed out.
Emphasising that in any democracy, parliamentary sovereignty is inviolable, the Vice President said: "The essence of democracy lies in the prevalence of the ordainment of the people reflected through the legitimised platformsParliament and the legislatures."

Congratulating the people of Kerala and their elected representatives on this milestone of the silver jubilee of the legislative building, the Vice President underlined that such buildings are much beyond a work of brick and mortar.
"The Kerala Legislative Assembly building represents the will of the people, the spirit of democracy, and the essence of the Constitution," Dhankar noted.
Pointing out that the state is known for its forward-thinking perspective and commitment to social justice, the Vice President praised the Legislative Assembly of Kerala for enacting many progressive laws worth noticing by other legislatures.
"As current legislators, you also inherit a shining legacy. It is your duty to make it lustrous," he told the legislators.
Lauding the state for having one of the highest internet penetrations in the country and harnessing the potential of emerging technologies, Dhankar expressed his hope that the state's quality of human resources combined with its progressive work culture will help in scripting new pathways in governance.
He also commended the Keralite diaspora, which has contributed immensely to the state's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through their remittances.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, Assembly Speaker A N Shamseer, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly V D Satheesan were among those who addressed the gathering of eminent personalities including ministers, MLAs and former Assembly Speakers at the function.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: May 22 2023 | 5:36 PM IST

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