Veterans walk down memory lane as Parliament turns 60

first_imgIt is almost as old as independent India. But while the country has progressed by leaps and bounds, the Parliament seems to have lost its aura, thanks to the declining standards in the quality of debates, coupled with the histrionics of its members.As the Parliament gears up to mark its 60th anniversary at the Central Hall on Sunday, veteran Congress leader Virbhadra Singh jogged down memory lane as he recounted the journey of the House in the last six decades.The 78-year-old, who completed 50 years with the Congress this month, said: “During the time of Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri, there was a lot of decorum. Members strictly adhered to the rules and regulations. Nobody disobeyed the Speaker. Nobody rushed to the well. Placards and slogans were unheard of. Issues were raised in a peaceful and less noisy manner than they are today.”Expressing concern over the tendency to stall the House over trivial issues, Singh said the Question Hour has to be sacrosanct.”The government spends lakhs of rupees to prepare questions and answers by the ministers.It is a vital part of Parliament proceedings? that is where the members can hold the government accountable to the people,” said Singh, who became an MP for the first time in the third Lok Sabha (1962).Decrying the practice nowadays of storming the well of the House at the drop of a hat, Singh said some MPs were publicity hungry. “Their eyes are on the press gallery.”He also indirectly blamed the media for contributing to the decline. “The media should not report proceedings not allowed by the Speaker,” he said.The former Himachal Pradesh chief minister, who is now the cabinet minister of micro, small and medium enterprises, reminisced the times when he was a young MP.”Hard-hitting speeches were followed by equally hard-hitting responses. But at no time was there any resentment or mudslinging. I learned a lot as a young MP,” Singh said.Singh recalled how there would be pin-drop silence whenever former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar would stand up to speak.A 43-YEAR AFFAIR WITH PARLIAMENTFinance minister Pranab Mukherjee is perhaps the only politician respected across party lines. Born in 1935, Mukherjee was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1969 after a brief stint as an academician and journalist.Over the past three decades, he has been elected to the Rajya Sabha five times and twice to the Lok Sabha. Mukherjee has headed over 40 GoMs in the last eight years and held various portfolios such as industrial development and defence.A POLITICAL CAREER AS OLD AS INDEPENDENT INDIABJP stalwart and a veteran politician, L.K. Advani (84) needs no introduction. One of Parliament’s senior-most members, Advani’s affair with politics began at the age of 20 when he was elected the secretary of the RSS, Karachi, where he was born, in 1947.A former president of the BJP, he also served as the home minister and deputy Prime Minister from 2002 to 2004 and was the Leader of the Opposition in the 10th and 14th Lok Sabha.After the defeat of the Indira Gandhiled Congress in 1977, he was appointed the minister of information and broadcasting in then Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s cabinet. He has the distinction of getting elected to the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha four and six times respectively.advertisementlast_img

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