Guard against majoritarianism, says President

Guard against majoritarianism, says President: New Delhi, 17 MarchPresident Pranab Mukherjee today said the country 'must always guard against majoritarianism' and that India needed a strong Opposition standing guard. The President cautioned against overcentralisation of power, and said a...

President’s anguish

This refers to the report “Guard against majoritarianism, says President” (Business  Standard, March 18).  Pranab Mukherjee’s call to restore the democratic functioning of legislative bodies and mention about the significance of the role of opposition in democracy need to be taken seriously by the political leadership of the country.
The concerns and anguish expressed by the first citizen about In-house conduct of legislators in recent times and overall deterioration in the standard of debates in parliament over time in effect give voice to the simmering anger of the common man in India. Read with this the treatment meted out to Irom Sharmila who contested Assembly election in Manipur and collected all of ninety votes which made her say that in today’s India even Mahatma Gandhi may get defeated in elections.
It is history that the British handed over India to Indian National Congress and that party’s pre-independence clout made it difficult for any opposition party think in terms of coming to power until there was crisis of leadership in Congress. The era of the coalition-politics that followed left the electorate wondering whether there was any difference in ideologies of different political parties other than sharing power!
But, history or the congress background of the President should not make us brush aside the anguish expressed by him about reducing number of working days of parliament or the lack of respect of parliamentarians to disciplined and efficient proceedings inside parliament. Perhaps, the political parties should work out a consensus on having the ‘pandemonium hours’ everyday only after completing the business scheduled for each day. The present practice across legislatures (from parliament to local bodies) is to start with protests on some current sensitive issue, create confusion by demanding skipping of question hour and make the Chair adjourn the house latest by noon. It will be perilous to delay corrective measures and the President’s expression of anguish need to be seen from this perspective.
M G WarrierMumbai

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