During the historic 250th session of the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the NCP at a time when in Maharashtra Sharad Pawar’s party is trying to form a government with the BJP’s former ally Shiv Sena, making hs audience in general and the opposition in particular wondering what his game was.
The confusion gave way to clarity when Modi referred to the statement of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He said Rajya Sabha was the second house and not the secondary (insignificant) one and it should remain a support house for the development of India. Then, he praised the NCP and BJD for their MPs never marching to the well of the House. Modi said that everybody needed to learn from these two parties, the BJP too.
The prime minister called the Upper House of Parliament the soul of India’s federal structure. He said that where the Lok Sabha is connected by land, the upper house can see the Rajya Sabha far.
Prime Minister Modi said, “The principle of check and balance applies to the Rajya Sabha. It is important that we choose the path of communication instead of interruptions. I would like to mention two parties, NCP and BJD. Both parties have decided on their own that they will not go to the well. They never broke this rule. We all need to learn from them. Both these parties have shown that they can win hearts and people’s trust even without going to the well. When we were in opposition, we used to do the same thing (march to the well to lodge protests); so we need to learn, too.”
Modi: RS moulds itself according to circumstances
The prime minister said that the Rajya Sabha had been adapting itself according to the times. He said, “The times changed, the circumstances changed and this House assimilated the changed circumstances and moulded itself accordingly. I am fortunate that today I had the opportunity to witness this important occasion.”
Modi said recalled first Vice President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who had said in the Rajya Sabha, “Our thoughts, our behaviour and our thinking will justify our parliamentary system consisting of two houses. This bicameral system made part of the Constitution will be tested by our actions.”
Modi heaps praise on Rajya Sabha
Describing the importance of the Rajya Sabha, the prime minister said if the Lower House (Lok Sabha) was connected to the ground, the other House can see far. He said that this House had created history and it had also changed the course of history when needed. Modi said, “This House has seen many historical moments, has also created history, has also seen history being made and has also turned the stream of history when needed.”
Prime Minister Modi said that sustainability and diversity were special aspects of the Rajya Sabha. He said, “Two aspects of Rajya Sabha are special: stability and diversity. Rajya Sabha is neither dissolved nor will be dissolved, hence permanent. The greatest strength of unity in diversity manifests in this House.”
2. ‘For those who cannot win election yet can contribute’
Modi said, “There is another benefit of this House. It is not easy for everyone to cross the electoral arena, but their experience is very useful in the country. Therefore, such people also get a chance here. Our intellectual property has been enriched due to this arrangement. The biggest example of this is Babasaheb Ambedkar. He was not allowed to reach the Lok Sabha for one reason or the other, but through the Rajya Sabha, he made a huge contribution.”
3. ‘Prevents autocracy’
Prime Minister Modi said when the opposition was not very strong, it was the Rajya Sabha that never allowed the rule to turn autocratic. He said, “There was a long period when there was little opposition, but so many scholars were sitting in this House that the governance system was not allowed to be autocratic.”
4. ‘Not obstructionist’
The prime minister said, “Many important and historical bills were passed here. In the last five years, I have had the opportunity to witness many important occasions from this House. This is the House that passed the triple talaq law. Many felt this House would obstruct the bill, but it was the maturity of the House that the Act was passed. The bill for reservation of economically weaker sections of general category candidates was passed here, too. In 1964, it was promised that Articles 370 and 35A would be removed within a year but could not be done. This House did it. It did it before the Lok Sabha.”
5. ‘Helps Centre, State to be partners in progress’
Modi said, “Our priority is a welfare state and, together with this responsibility, welfare of States. States and the Centre together can develop the country. The Rajya Sabha has strengthened the federal structure. The Rajya Sabha ensures that the governments of the Centre and the States are participants rather than rivals. Development of the country and development of States are not two separate things. This House reflects this ideal with utmost vivacity.”
Modi recalls Vajpayee’s words for Rajya Sabha
Prime Minister Modi said, “When this House had completed 200 sessions in 2003, there was a ceremony. Even then, the NDA was in government and Atal ji was the prime minister. Atal ji had then said that the second chamber existed to increase the power of our parliamentary democracy. He had warned not to make the mistake of making the second House a secondary house.”
“I will say the same thing in my own words that Rajya Sabha is a second house, it will never be made secondary; it should remain a supportive house for the development of India,” Modi said.
The prime minister said, “Atal ji had said that the flow of a river was good as long as its banks were strong. One side of the parliamentary flow of India is the Lok Sabha and the other is the Rajya Sabha. When both of them remain strong, there will be a parliamentary flow. We do not have to lose sight of the national point of view, but we must also balance the regional interest with it accurately. If this work can be done in the best way, it can be done in this House.”