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Manohar Puri
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The changing face of Indian Parliament
Updated 24 Oct 2017 | Tuesday
Updated 24-Oct-2017 | Tuesday

I started visiting parliament as a journalist, when the Indian democracy was entering the Indira era. I used to listen about the importance of the parliament during the days of Pandit Nehru. The debate and discussion happening in the parliament is detailed and intense. If either the Prime Minister or Leader of Opposition used to stand to speak, the whole house used to listen to them quietly. Without the permission of the (peethaseen), the practice of speaking out in between was quite less. All works of the parliament used to go with the rules. Question Hour was seen to be the most important session and one used to refrain from changing out anything. If any minister used to stand to interfere in between the discussion, all other members used to listen to him carefully. Even the number of attendees in the parliament used to be decent and it was taken a care that at least one minister from the department is present concerning the debate in the house. Usually the atmosphere of ease used to be there when the ministers used to reply each other in a poetic way. Such an art was quite prominent with the leaders during those days.

There were several dignified members in the days of Indira Ji, whose experience was much more than her but nobody ever tried to malign her position in the house. The level of debate was not the same intense. There were several ministers in the house, who once used to stand to speak even we journalists used to leave our pens and enjoy their jokes. These jokes were never in concern to the subject of their speech in the house. In the opposition too there were several members who used to disrupt by not only denying the order from the speaker but also, were proficient in creating commotion in the parliament. Now sloganeering nearby the chair of (peethaseen) became a usual thing. Parliamentarians started sitting on strikes in the parliament.

The leaders of the government in power started speaking against their government.
The debate happening in the parliament used to be discussed in every house.

I started visiting parliament regularly in the year 1977. To report the proceedings of the parliament was my obligation. The situation started worsening in days of Janta Party government but still the prestige of parliament was taken a care. The leaders of the government in power started speaking against their government. When the era of coalition governments came the situation went out of hands and newspapers started calling parliament a fish market. A bit less than fights, manhandling and threatening became a mundane practice in the house. It went up to an extent of using pepper spray in the house. Where earlier, if any member used to be injured in the foot and needed a stick to walk with, they used to take permission of the speaker but now the members reach in house with umbrella in their hands and even use them to protest. Interestingly, there was an increase in number of well read and rich members in the house during the same time.

A huge setback to the prestige of the parliament was seen when; not only members or leaders but also common people and newspapers started taking the parliament for granted. There were times when every newspaper used to discuss about what would happen in the session before it started. The news concerning it used to occupy front page space in the newspaper. The debate happening in the parliament used to be discussed in every house. The question being asked in the parliament had lots of importance. Even the questions being asked concerning different departments and their members we not allowed taking a leave so that the answer to the question asked is given with full seriousness and in detail by the member. Concerned minister was made profoundly aware of the matter and the question being asked. Today the situation is completely reversed. Neither the questions are asked with full seriousness nor are the answer to these questions given intensely. Even newspapers only print news concerning parliament when there is commotion etc. happening there. Now a weekly or monthly update of what happened in the parliament is hardly printed in the papers. The documents being provided concerning question to the journalists becomes a junk.

It could be assumed to be a ray of hope that once again a government with full majority has come to place in the Parliament. Talks are there of the discipline of the party in the house. Big leaders are not ignoring any indecent talk by the leaders. Members are being suggested to work for the development for the country. Not only the government but also opposition is ready for working towards welfare of the people. The happening of  continuous elections in the country and the change of power from time to time has presented a strong democratic image of our nation around the world. Even in our neighbouring nations the democracy has not been allowed to establish in the same way as it is in India. The 16 th Lok Sahba has come up with a hope. It seems that our elected representatives will full fill their duties and obligations with full commitment. We have full belief that by this the trust of Indian people in the democracy will further increase.


The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS and PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Parliament  |  India  |  Democracy  |  Leaders  |  government  |  Parliamentarians
Parliament  |   India  |   Democracy  |   Leaders  |   government  |   Parliamentarians
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