Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday assured the Opposition that their every word is “valuable” to the government irrespective of their “numbers”, and asked it to actively speak in Parliament.
On the first day of the Monsoon session, Modi also urged all MPs to be impartial in the House and address issues related to the larger interest of the nation.
Underlining the importance of an active opposition in a democracy, the Prime Minister said he hopes the opposition “will speak actively and participate in House proceedings… I am hopeful that this session will be more productive.”
“The Opposition need not worry about their numbers. Whatever numbers opposition parties may have got from the people, for us their every word is valuable. All their feelings are valuable,” Modi said addressing the media outside the Parliament before the start of the first session of the 17th LokSabha.
He said, “When we come to Parliament, we should forget ‘paksh’ (treasury) and ‘vipaksh’ (opposition) and should think about issues with a ‘nishpaksh’ (impartial) spirit and work in the larger interest of the nation.”
Responding to Modi’s comments, the Congress hoped that the trend by the BJP-led NDA government in its previous term to push key bills without legislative scrutiny using “brute majority” is reversed.
Alleging that the Modi government used Parliament as a “rubber stamp” during its previous tenure, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “Legislation through ordinance is a very unhealthy practice in a democracy. It should only be used in extreme cases where there is an emergency requirement otherwise the due processes of lawmaking must to be followed by the government in office.”
He said, “We will now wait for the Prime Minister’s assurance in this regard and whether the practice that was followed in the last five years is reversed, because in the last five years what we have seen is disrespect to Parliament, where the bills were brought by the government and because of its brute majority in the LokSabha, Parliament was treated as a rubber stamp.”
Most of the bills were not sent to the standing committee for legislative scrutiny which is important for any law to be made, Sharma said.
The Congress hopes that now this practice will be honoured and dependence of ordinance and pushing through the bills without scrutiny will not be repeated by the government, he said.
Earlier, talking about the newly constituted LokSabha, Modi said it is historic in various terms as maximum number of women MPs have been elected to the lower house since the Independence.
Modi said as this is the first session with new members, there will be a flow of new energy and a new enthusiasm will be reflected in the House to realise the aspirations of the people.
The Prime Minister said his government worked on the principle of ‘sabkasath, sabkavikas’ (with all, development for all) during his first term and people reposed their faith in it for a second time. As a result, a government has been re-elected with a clear majority after several decades, he said.
While the BJP-led NDA has 353 members, the saffron party has a majority on its own with 303 members in the 545-member LokSabha. The Congress with 52 seats is the second largest party in the house.
PM, MEMBERS TAKE OATH
Leader of the House and Prime Minister NarendraModi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah were among those who took oath as Members of the 17th LokSabha that commenced here Monday.
As soon as the House met, the Members stood in silence for a few minutes as per the convention “to mark the solemn occasion of the first sitting of the 17th LokSabha”.
When Modi’s name was called out by the Secretary General for taking oath, Members from the ruling NDA thumped the desk greeting the Prime Minister with slogans such as ‘ModiModi’ and “Bharat Mata ki Jai.
The panel of presiding officers – K Suresh, BrijbhushanSharan Singh and B Mehtab – took oath as Members after the Prime Minister.
While the Prime Minister and most of Union Ministers took oath in Hindi, Union Ministers Harsh Vardhan, SripadNaik, AshwiniChaubey and Pratap Chandra Sarangi took oath in Sanskrit.
While D V SadanandaGowda and Prahlad Joshi took oath in Kannada, Harsimrat Kaur Badal took oath in Punjabi.
Union Ministers ArvindGanpatSawant, RaosahebPatilDanbe took oath in Marathi, Jitendra Singh in Dogri, Babul Supriyo in English, RameshwarTeli in Assamese and Debashree Choudhury in Bangla.
BJD leader Mehtab took oath in Odiya.
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, TMC leader SudipBandyopadhyay, Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son AkhileshYadav, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, and DMK leaders Kanizmohi and A Raja were present in the House on the occasion.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi was not seen when the House met.
Earlier the new session began with playing of the National Anthem.
Before the House met, Virendra Kumar was sworn in as Pro-Tem Speaker by President RamnathKovind at RashtrapatiBhavan.
Several members took oath in their mother tongue, like most of the YSR Congress Party MPs in Telegu. Many members from Assam took oath in Assamese.
BJP members from Bihar GopalJee Thakur and Ashok Kumar Yadav took oath in Madhubani.
BJP member from Bihar Jarnardhan Singh Sigriwal expressed desire to take oath in Bhojpuri, but the LokSabha Secretary General said the language was not in the eight schedule of the Constitution.
Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah thumped the desk as Tapir Gao from Arunachal Pradesh approached the mike stand to take oath. Secretary General of LokSabhaSnehlataShrivastava by mistake called petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan to take oath and soon rectified it as the latter is a RajyaSabha Member.