Pranab Mukherjee last book The Presidential Years PM Modi must speak more often in Parliament
Prime Minister Narendra Modi should listen to dissenting voices and speak more often in Parliament, using it as a forum to spread his views to convince the opposition and inform the nation, former President Pranab Mukherjee said.
According to Mukherjee, the mere physical presence of the prime minister in Parliament makes a huge difference in the functioning of this institution.
“Be it Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Manmohan Singh, each of these former PMs made their presence felt on the floor of the Chamber.
“Prime Minister Modi, now in his second term, must draw inspiration from his predecessors and provide visible leadership, through his increased presence in Parliament, to avoid situations that precipitated the parliamentary crisis we witnessed in the first term,” Mukherjee wrote in his memoirs “The Presidential Years, 2012-2017” that he completed before his death last year. The book, published by Rupa Publications, was published on Tuesday.
Modi, Mukherjee said, must “listen to dissenting voices and speak more often in Parliament. He must use it as a forum to spread his views to convince the Opposition and inform the nation.”
He said that during the years of the UPA, he would solve difficult problems by staying in constant contact with the leader of the Opposition and the top leaders of both the UPA and the NDA.
“My job was to lead the House, even if it meant meeting and convincing the members of the Opposition alliance. I would be present at all times in the House in order to defuse contentious issues, when they arose.” But he regretted that the NDA government, during its first term in 2014-19, failed to fulfill its primary responsibility to ensure the smooth running of Parliament.
“I attribute the acrimonious exchanges between the Treasury and the Opposition seats to arrogance and inept government management.
But the Opposition is not blameless either. He had also behaved irresponsibly, “he wrote.
Mukherjee said he had consistently argued that the disruption hurts the opposition more than the government, as a disruptive opposition loses the moral authority to put the government on the canvas.
“It also gives the executive an undue advantage to reduce the sessions of Parliament under the pretext of the prevailing chaos.” According to the former president, the moral authority to govern rests with the prime minister.
“The overall state of the nation reflects the functioning of the prime minister and his administration. While Dr. Singh was concerned with saving the coalition, which affected governance, Modi seemed to have employed a rather autocratic style of government during his first term, as seen by the bitter relationship between the government, the legislature and the judiciary, “he wrote.
“Only time will tell if there is a better understanding of these issues in the second term of this government. It is also important that the government take into account the demands and aspirations of the sector of the population that has not voted for it, because the government represents and belongs to all sectors of the people, regardless of their voting preference ”, he added.