This is What We did in 70 years - We saved the Democracy and the Constitution

SYNOPSIS OF DEBATE Discussion on ‘Parliamentary journey of 75 years starting from Samvidhan Sabha - achievements, experiences, memories and learnings’

Synopsis of the Debate of Congress President & Leader of the Opposition Shri Mallikarjun Kharge in Rajya Sabha on September 18, 2023.

We all have to follow the Constitution made after independence. This building is a witness to all the major decisions of Independent India. Our Constituent Assembly sat in this building for 165 days in 11 sessions. The Constitution it created consisting of 90 thousand words came into force on January 26, 1950. At that time, when the foundation of the nation was being laid, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister. Great leaders from different streams were elected in the Constituent Assembly. The Constitution that the Constitution makers gave us at that time has created a strong framework for the nation, and because of that the principles and practices of democracy are an integral part of the nature of the people even today. The Indian Constitution gave us adult franchise. Poor or rich, illiterate or literate, everyone got equal right to vote. Baba Saheb had said in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly that the work of the present Drafting Committee would have become very difficult, if this Constituent Assembly had been merely a community of persons with different views. Due to the presence of the Congress Party in the meeting, both order and discipline were created in the proceedings. Baba Saheb Ambedkar endured hardships and made the Constitution, working on it relentlessly. On that, T.T. Krishnamachari ji had said that Dr. Ambedkar played the biggest role in the drafting committee of 7 members that formulated the Constitution. There were 7 members in it. Of these, one resigned, one member died, one member went to America, one member remained busy in the affairs of the State and 2 members were away from Delhi, their presence was less due to poor health. So the entire responsibility was on Baba Saheb Ambedkar.

We are fighting to protect that Constitution. We all have one intention that we do not want to lose what we have earned with so much pain and hard work. When India adopted democracy in 1950, many foreign scholars thought that democracy would fail here, but we strengthened it. Because of the ideals of our Constitution that are here for us, today everyone follows it. The fortunes of the country have changed in this building during the last 75 years and many laws that have changed the face of the country have been passed here. Our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru believed that Parliament remains relevant only as long as it remains a dynamic institution, constantly evolving according to the changing needs of time. Nehru ji included the most capable people in his first Cabinet. Five people, who were not in Congress, were also included. He made Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, who was opposed to his political ideology, the Minister of Industries and Supplies. He used to sit patiently and listen to his colleagues and young MPs.

The first Prime Minister regularly met opposition leaders on important issues and listened attentively to the Members of Parliament during debates. He did not want the powers of the House to be limited. He considered that a strong opposition is essential for a democratic system. There has also been a tradition of Prime Ministers giving statements on different issues in the House. But this is happening very rarely during the regime of the present Government. The House had discussions under Rule 267 on some occasions and on many occasions, Question Hour was also suspended to discuss important issues. Parliament and Legislative Assemblies are the supreme representative institutions, through which aspirations of common people get expressed. In these changing times, there should be high level discussions in these bodies to meet the increasing aspirations of the 8 people and the whole country should watch their live telecast. Here MPs can raise issues of public interest, and whatever they say in the House is officially recorded, so the public also has the confidence that their issues are being raised. Parliament is the guardian of the interests and rights of the people, and the Chairman is the guardian of us Members of the Parliament. When we are unable to put forth our issues, we ask for his protection. Many important discussions took place in this House. The shortcomings in the management of the Corona epidemic were also brought to the fore during the discussion in the House. This round building of Parliament has a very special place in the minds of the people of India. In the 75 years of independence, all the important decisions have been taken here. The architecture of this building has the imprint of Indian tradition. Big leaders like Nehru ji, Ambedkar ji, Vallabhbhai Patel ji used to sit in here. The best work of Parliament took place during the tenure of the first Lok Sabha. The debates on the bills of that period remain a center of curiosity even today. There are many experienced MPs in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha even today, hence everyone should get freedom of speech. Similarly, it is also necessary to send the Bills to the Standing Committees for scrutiny, so that the laws are not made in haste and have minimum flaws. Otherwise, the Courts raise objections on them, and common people think that MPs do not think about us and make laws without proper deliberation. Sometimes, Laws have to be withdrawn. This should not happen. Now-a-days, the trend of passing Bills in limited time has increased, which is not good. Similarly, the number of the sittings of the Parliament is also being kept less. This is also not right. I would like to add one more thing that there are many democratic ways of expressing one’s views in Parliament and as many former senior leaders have said, disrupting the House is one of them. The job of the Parliament is to discuss but when issues are ignored, creating disruption in the House cannot be termed as undemocratic. We have been trying for a long time and everyone also wants that the Women’s Reservation Bill should come. Women should be given reservation. There is talk of unemployment. On one hand we talk about 75 years of independence, but on the other hand unemployment has increased so much that today 8 crore educated people are on the way. Inflation is increasing everywhere.