President of India Mr. Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the 80th All India Presiding Officers Conference (AIPOC) in Kevadia, Gujarat, today in the presence of Vice President of India and Chairman, Rajya Sabha, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu.
Governor of Gujarat, Mr. Acharya Devvrat; Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr. Om Birla; Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Vijay Rupani, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr. Prahlad Joshi; Union MoS Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Arjun Ram Meghwal, senior Congress leader, Mr. Adhir Ranjan Choudhury, other dignitaries also graced the Inaugural Ceremony.
Inaugurating the Conference, the President of India said that in the past few decades the aspirations, hopes and awareness of the masses had increased. Because of this, the role and responsibilities of legislatures across the country had also multiplied. He observed that, it is always expected from the representatives of the people that they remain committed towards the ideals of democracy. He further said that the greatest challenge for democratic institutions and representatives of the people was to rise up to the expectations of the people.
President Mr. Kovind expressed his view that the people of the country expected their leaders to follow parliamentary traditions and procedures. When their representatives use unparliamentary language or create disruptions in the House, the people get hurt. Therefore, in the interest of the people and the country, the representatives of the people should work with harmony and coordination. He emphasized that in a democracy, the mechanism of dialogue is the best medium to prevent discussion from becoming disruption.
Expressing the view that in a parliamentary democracy, both the Opposition and the Government had an important role to play, he said that harmony, cooperation and constructive dialogue among them was very important. In this regard, it was the responsibility of the Presiding Officers to provide to the representatives of the people a conducive environment for constructive debate in the House and also encourage decorous behaviour and discussion. He further said that being representatives of their constituents, the responsibility of the Presiding Officers was also towards the people in their constituency. The Chair of the Presiding Officer of the House, was symbolic of both his dignity and his responsibility, where he/she sits and transacts the business impartially and judiciously. He further stressed that the Chair was symbolic of impartiality, equity and justice and that the same ennobling values should reflect in the conduct of the Presiding Officers.
Addressing the Inaugural Ceremony, Vice President and Chairman Rajya Sabha, Mr. M Venkaiah Naidu emphasized that none of the three organs of the State can assume supremacy as it is the Constitution that is supreme. In this regard, V.P Mr. Naidu referred to several judicial pronouncements which have alluded to overreach of the Judiciary. He emphasized that the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary need to remain in their respective domains, which will not only lead to harmony but will also ensure progress of the nation. This warrants mutual respect and responsibility.
Vice President Mr. Naidu stressed that given the importance of Legislatures, the Presiding Officers have a major role to play in furthering the cause of parliamentary democracy. He stressed that Presiding Officers, as high priest of the temple of democracy, have an onerous responsibility to ensure that decency, dignity and decorum in legislatures is maintained.
Addressing the delegates, Lok Sabha Speaker Mr. Om Birla expressed his reverence to the land of Gujarat, which is the birthplace of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi and Iron Man of India, Sardar Patel. He said that the 80th AIPOC, being organised at the Statue of Unity in Kevadia would go a long way in strengthening parliamentary institutions. Mr. Birla added that as the world’s largest democracy lawmakers must continually strive to work towards fulfilling their constitutional obligations.
Mr. Birla said that, as their representatives of the people, lawmakers reflect the hopes and aspirations of the people. He added that at the same time our democratic institutions derive strength from the Constitution, as it provides the basis for functioning of the legislatures according to the people’s aspirations. Mr. Birla exhorted that lawmakers must always work for public welfare while remaining committed to constitutional values. Mr. Birla appealed to all stakeholders to take a pledge towards rebuilding the nation. Even the smallest efforts can bring a change in last man’s life. He said that in the journey of Indian democracy, there have been differences of opinion among institutions, but Solutions can always be found, through improvements in democratic procedures, while staying within the limits of constitutional provisions and democratic norms.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister of Gujarat Mr. Vijay Rupani said that Gujarat has been at the forefront of India’s development and democracy. He observed that Gujaratis have contributed immensely to Indian democracy for which there is immense pride among the people of the state. He noted that generations of leaders, from Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, G.V. Mavlankar to Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi have selflessly served the nation. Mr. Rupani also recalled that under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel India fought for its freedom and post-independence India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity were further enhanced by Sardar Patel.
Addressing the august gathering, the Leader of the Indian National Congress in Lok Sabha, Mr. Adhir Ranjan Chaudhury recalled that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had weaved the nation together whose grand statue adorns the pious land of Kevadia. He said that Gujarat is also the land of the Mahatma, whose soul continues to inspire our public life. He mentioned that Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had emphasized on both political and social equality which has been imbibed in our Constitution. He further said that our Constitution was the contribution of innumerable freedom fighters who burnt their midnight oil to prepare the voluminous yet magnificent document. Mr. Chaudhary stressed that plurality is the basic feature of our culture which accommodates differences and dissent and thus makes us an argumentative society. As such, our concern should be
to ensure debate, dialogue and dissent in public life.
Praising Lok Sabha Speaker for inspiring the organization of this Conference, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Prahlad Joshi said that India is strong and one today because Sardar Patel united us. He recalled that the Constitution Day was first started by the then Chief minister of Gujarat, Mr. Narendra Modi which has now become a national event under his inspiring leadership. Mr. Joshi said that democratic values have existed in India since ancient times and referred to Anubhava Mantapa in ancient India. Referring to interruptions in Legislatures, he said that all the stakeholders, including Presiding Officers, should introspect upon this trend and ensure that the people’s faith is restored in legislative institutions.
Earlier, Speaker of the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha Mr. Rajendra Trivedi welcomed the distinguished delegates. He informed the august gathering that the Gujarat Legislative Assembly had, for the first time in 2020, awarded the Best Parliamentarian Award, for which he thanked Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr. Om Birla, who he said was the inspiration behind the initiative. Mr. Trivedi was happy to note that within a short span of time the Government of Gujarat and especially Chief Minister, Mr. Vijay Rupani had issued necessary directions and guidelines. He also stated that under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, the Constitution Day had become an all India event.
Source: Information Department, Gujarat