Seasoned response in RS

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 26

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today modulated his response in the Rajya Sabha appearing more matter-of-factly, in comparison to a slightly combative approach he adopted in the Lok Sabha, both being the first occasion when he spoke in the Houses after his government retained power with a greater majority.

A day after his reply in the Lok Sabha to the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to President’s Address, in the Rajya Sabha today, PM Modi reminded the verdict underscores people’s rejection of the negative approach of the Opposition.

While opposition to government is understandable, he said Opposition’s insistence on negating major policies and proposals crafted by his government to ameliorate the lot of the underprivileged and poorer sections of society did not go down well with people. There were at least four elements in his 70-minute response that stood out. One, the Modi government returned with a clear and larger mandate. Two, his government is open to ideas and suggestions for improvement of policies and programmes, irrespective of which side offers it.

Three, states governments and parties across the political spectrum should work together to help India become a $5-trillion economy; and finally, space for healthy opposition was part of parliamentary democracy yet, the Council of States should avoid taking the obstructionist path.

The PM in his own way reminded the members of the Opposition; it was time to follow the advice of former President Pranab Mukherjee that while Opposition can go against the government, it should not obstruct work.

Inherit in the message was it is time for the parties in the Opposition with presence in the Rajya Sabha not to block key legislative agenda as a means to spite the government, but to work to enact laws for the benefit of the people.

The PM said the BJP today was truly a pan-India party having members in Parliament from each of five regions. In the same breath, he underlined the Congress failed to win a single seat across 17 states.

On the balance, the PM hoped Opposition members eschew the approach of stalling the proceedings. He recalled conversations with senior Opposition leaders who agreed that something should be done to remedy the situation when parties with lesser strength held up proceedings.

The session could well become a benchmark for the Opposition to demonstrate its oft-repeated promise of playing a constructive role and the government to show it remains sensitive in accommodating concerns of the parties on the other side of the aisle.

Key takeaways

  • The NDA has returned with a clear and larger mandate. Its govt is open to ideas and suggestions for improvement of policies and programmes, irrespective of which side offers it
  • State govts and parties should work together to help India become a $5-tn economy; space for healthy Oppn is part of democracy, yet the Council of States should shun obstruction
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