Round Table decries disruption of PM's speech

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New Delhi, Sep 4 (UNI) A majority of the participants at a Round Table Discussion on "Strengthening Parliamentary Democracy" today condemned the action of the Opposition in preventing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh from delivering his speech during the July 22 discussion on the Confidence Motion, which was necessitated after the Left parties withdrew support to the government.

In his key note address, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said there was tremendous reaction from the public after the Trust Vote.

Many of them expressed happiness over the fact that the Lok Sabha had ultimately functioned on the second day of the Trust Motion, despite the disruption caused by the display of wads of currency notes, allegedly paid as bribes to three BJP MPs to vote with the government.

However, they had expressed dismay at the manner in which the Opposition had disrupted the speech of Prime Minister Singh, who was forced to lay his written speech on the table, before the motion was put to vote.

Echoeing similar sentiments, legal luminary Soli Sorabji said the disruption of Dr Singh's speech on such an important day showed lacked of Parliamentary morality.

"It is a shame," noted Agricultural economist M S Swaminathan.

"There must be respect to the Prime Minister's post, whichever party he belongs to," he underlined.

Mr Chatterjee said the country was extremely particular that Parliament functioned properly.

He said the 'fractured polity' had created problem in providing opportunity to all. In this context, he pointed out that there were 37 political parties and groups in the Lok Sabha. "Because of the fractured polity, national issues are hardly given any importance in the debates in Parliament." Noted Lawyer Fali S Nariman asked the politicians to practice what they preached.

Noted Journalist Kuldip Nayar regretted that some political parties were now trying to change the complexion of the country.

"The country is getting trivialised with parochialism being so deep and religion exploited." He said the political parties were not selecting good candidates.

Instead, they preferred those who could push their agenda of parochialism.

BJP leader Jaswant Singh said the ills of the society were reflected in Parliament which represented the society.

He said he could not accept democracy of inherited leadership.

Former Union Minister Girija Vyas suggested that more role was given to the media and women to bring about a change in the polity.

Famous Journalist Inder Malhotra was in favour of introducing punishment for misbehaviour in Parliament.

Noted Lawyer Shanti Bhushan said the Lok Sabha Secretariat should compile the details of disruptions caused by members and report the same to the Election Commission, which could issue repeated warnings before acting on it.

Mr Era Sezhiyan, Dr Bimal Jalan, Swami Agnivesh, Mr E A S Sarma, Mr Rajinder Sachar, T R Andhyarujina, Mr Anil B Divan, Mr Prabhash Joshi, Mr B G Verghese, Mr H K Dua, Dr Harish Khare, Prof S Thorat, Prof Deepak Pental and Prof B B Bhattacharya also spoke.

UNI SH ATI HS2049

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