Look forward to ‘new normal’ marked by decency, decorum: Naidu

NEW DELHI, Nov 29:
On the first day of the winter session of Parliament on Monday, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said he was looking forward to a “new normal” marked by decency and decorum in the Upper House and the way forward is to opt for dialogue and debate instead of disruption.
Welcoming the members to the 255th session of the Upper House, he asked them to draw lessons from the “bitter and unpleasant” experience of the previous session and asserted that he has suggested the government to reach out to the Opposition members and take them into confidence on legislations that they intend to take up.
Even the Opposition leaders should also understand in that spirit and both must move on, Naidu said.
Complimenting frontline workers in their efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic, Naidu said people should not lower their guards amid a surge in new cases being reported from different parts of the world and emerging new strains of the virus posing a challenge.
Over 120 crore COVID-19 doses have been administered so far in the country, he said and asked members of Rajya Sabha to take up a campaign to ensure people in their area are fully vaccinated and are following Covid-appropriate protocols.
Stating that they are meeting on the 75th anniversary of the country’s independence and 72nd anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution, Naidu said some members skipped the Constitution Day event on November 26 and asked them to be guided by the spirit of that occasion during this session.
“All that I would like to emphasise on this solemn occasion is that we need to be guided by the philosophy of the provisions of the Constitution to determine the architecture of our democracy, instead negating on some pretext or the other,” he said and urged members to make the best use of 19 sittings scheduled during this session.
Stating that the “bitter and unpleasant experience” of the last monsoon session still continued to haunt most of the members, Naidu said almost 70 per cent of the valuable time was lost due to disruptions and incidents of unruly conduct by some members during the previous session at the end of which “there were no winners”.
“Should we not draw lessons from such unpleasant experiences that entail huge cost to the democracy besides leaving bitterness in the people of this country, who have pinned high hopes on their legislatures and chosen representatives. I will leave to your wisdom,” he said.
Mentioning that the Upper House has gone through the highs and lows during the 11 sessions over the last four years, Naidu said it was a revealing experience for all members.
“…In light of which I look forward to a new normal marked by decency and decorum in the house. The way forward is to opt for a dialogue and debate rather than disrupt,” he said.
There is certain scope for democratic and parliamentary space with corrective will, he said, and added, “For doing so, we have to remind ourselves of the mandate of our sacred Constitution and the responsibility cast upon us. I look forward to the manifestation of that spirit during this session.”
Naidu further said he has already suggested to the government to reach out to the Opposition to the maximum possible extent and take them into confidence on legislations that they intend to take up and also the rationale behind the legislation.
“And the opposition should also understand in that spirit and both of us must move on,” he said.
Referring to a treasury members’ demand for a detailed enquiry into unruly conduct of some members during the last session, the chairman said he had tried to reach out to the leaders of various parties.
Some of them made it clear that their members should not be made party to any such enquiry, while some leaders, however, expressed concern over the way functioning of the house was derailed during the last session and condemned the unruly incidents, he said.
“I on my part was expecting and waiting that the leading lights of this august House to take lead in expressing their outrage over what has happened in the last session with assurance of introspection and spirited efforts to prevent recurrence of such incidents,” he said.
“Such assurances from all concerned would have helped me in appropriately handling the matter. Unfortunately, it was not to be,” he added. (PTI)