M A I N   N E W S

RS resolves to uphold dignity of House
Also decides to enhance accountability of govt towards people
Girja Shankar Kaura/TNS

New Delhi, May 13
Members of the Rajya Sabha today hailed India’s success as a parliamentary democracy and committed themselves to further strengthening the system that has made the country a global power.

The members resolved to uphold and maintain Parliament’s dignity, sanctity and supremacy to make it an effective instrument of change and strengthen the democratic values and principles.

The resolution, passed at the end of a day-long debate marking the 60th anniversary of the first sitting of Parliament, was moved by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari and was adopted unanimously by members by voice vote.

“We, the members... do hereby solemnly reaffirm our total and abiding commitment to the ideals cherished by our founding fathers, and resolve to uphold and maintain the dignity, sanctity and supremacy of Parliament; to make Parliament an effective instrument of change and to strengthen democratic values and principles; to enhance the accountability of the government towards the people through the oversight of Parliament, and; to rededicate ourselves completely to the sacred task of nation-building,” the resolution read.

Leaders from all political parties recounted resilience of the country’s democratic system and pointed to the role played by the Rajya Sabha in resolving conflicts, easing tensions and enacting path-breaking legislations.

Initiating the debate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been a Rajya Sabha member for the past 21 years, said India’s unflinching commitment to democracy was among the reasons for India’s growing global stature.

Leader of the Opposition in the House, BJP’s Arun Jaitley said the past 60 years had seen the collapse of many democracies, but India not only survived but became the world’s largest democracy.

“We continue to face the curse of terrorism and insurgency. Let us resolve that there will be no politics on these issues. We will not only eliminate but sense will be that those who rebel outside the system one day, we will get them within the system,” he said. He also paid tribute to the security officials who lost their lives in the attack on Parliament in December 2001.

BSP supremo Mayawati said people’s welfare was central to decision-making in the first 30 years of Parliament, but political considerations were getting more play now.

CPM Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said 100 sittings per year should be made mandatory for MPs. “During the past two decades, we have never sat for more than 100 days in a year. We have lost a lot of time due to disruptions,” Yechury said.

“Introduce an amendment, if necessary, making 100 sittings mandatory in a year. The efficiency of the constitutional mechanism depends on the conduct of parliamentarians,” he said.


Four living members of 1st LS honoured
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
The toast of daylong celebrations of the 60th year of Parliament's first sitting was the felicitation of four living members of the first Lok Sabha that came into being on May 13, 1952.

Leading the pack was Reishang Keishing, the 92-year-old current member of the Rajya Sabha from Manipur, who sat in the first and third Lok Sabhas also. Keishing, a former Chief Minister of Manipur, was elected to the Rajya Sabha first in 2002 and then in 2009.

Representing Chhattisgarh at the ceremony was 87-year-old Resham Lal Jhangde, member of the first, third and the ninth Lok Sabhas. Jhangde, an agriculturist, lawyer and a social activist hails from Raipur.

The other MPs of the first Lok Sabha felicitated today were 65-year-old Kandala Subramaniam, a freedom fighter, and K Mohana Rao, who represented Rajamundari in the first LS.


In session 1, Left forced division, accepted defeat
Aditi Tandon/TNS

New Delhi, May 13
May 13, 1952, the first day of the first the Lok Sabha session, was dedicated to the oath-taking ceremony of the newly elected house of 499 members.

The House began its proceedings by observing a two-minute silence. GV Mavalankar was in the Chair when PM Jawahar Lal Nehru became the first MP to take oath. The first woman MP to take oath was a tribal - B Khongmen.

The House reassembled on May 15, 1952 to elect its first Speaker. The election witnessed a contest with Nehru proposing the name of GV Mavalankar and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Satya Narayan Sinha seconding it, and Communist Party’s AK Gopalan proposing the Left’s candidate Shankar Shantaram More.

After Mavalankar won by a huge majority, More displayed tremendous grace in his speech, thus revealing the maturity of the Opposition of those times.

“Sir, I congratulate you. I am the defeated candidate and yet none is happier on your election than myself,” SS More said after he had made a point on how the convention of House of Commons was violated in the first Lok Sabha sitting.

“Sir, some parliamentary conventions we have taken from the House of Commons have become a casualty even at the first meeting of the House. Unfortunately, Leader of the House thought it appropriate to propose a name and another Minister thought it advisable to second it. There is no dearth of backbenchers on their side. I wish they had selected those to propose a name. That would have been the proper procedure to emphasise your impartiality,” SS More said.

Gopalan, on behalf of Communist Party, the single largest party in the Opposition then, said, “You belong to us all the moment you have been chosen to occupy this honourable chair.”

The first woman to speak in the Lok Sabha was Sucheta Kripalani, MP from New Delhi. She represented Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party. The first member from Punjab who spoke was Hukam Singh Kapurthala from Bathinda.

The very first speech in Hindi was made in the Lok Sabha by NL Sharma of Sikar constituency.

On May 16, 1952, President Rajendra Prasad gave his first address to the two Houses. The very first notices of adjournment were given by MPs to discuss food subsidies, an issue which remains sticky to date.

The first Lok Sabha sat for 759 days in five years (an average of 150 days a year) to pass 299 legislations. Today, average sitting of Houses is down to around 60 days a year.



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