President's appeal to opposition parties

Expressing strong displeasure over the continued logjam in Parliament, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said "disruption in Parliament is totally unacceptable".

He said during an address on Thursday: "Parliamentary freedom should not be misused by causing disruptions".

"My teacher taught me that three Ds are essential in democracy. Disruption of Parliament is not acceptable at all", the president said, "People send their representatives to Parliament to work for the country and not to agitate". For that, streets are still available.

On Wednesday, the Foundation day of St. Stephen's College President Pranab Mukherjee while addressing the students said that institutions in India should encourage its students towards research and innovation in order to prepare the youth for the challenges of the job market. Asking the members to be on track, President said, "For God's sake, do your job" and he added "Dharnas can be organised anywhere else". "You are meant to transact business", he added.

President Mukherjee was nearly in his previous avatar when as Leader of the Lok Sabha, he would lose his cool over the disruptions caused by Opposition parties and by the members of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh over the demand for creation of Telangana. He said that even if a member was levelling an allegation against someone, no court could prosecute him because what he said was on the floor of the House.

"I am convinced that the country needs electoral reforms".

Asked for a formal response to the President's critique, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said: "It is good, we support the President's view".

Ending his lecture, the President said he did not use the written text but "spoke frankly".

Accepting the fact that the proposal for holding simultaneous elections is very hard, he said holding of frequent elections is a strain on both administrative and financial resources. We are ready to pay this price for democracy, but, it should not be at the cost of development. He favoured increasing the number of Lok Sabha seats for which a Constitutional amendment could be considered. "Therefore, we must find a way on how we can ensure that elections are held both in federal Parliament and provincial Assembly together, if possible", he said. The period of elections tends to get very long as it is spread over phases.

Today it was the turn of the BJP MPs in Lok Sabha.

  • Jacqueline Ellis