New House for MPs: Need to uphold values of dissent and debate - The Tribune India

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New House for MPs

Need to uphold values of dissent and debate

New House for MPs

New Parliament House. PTI file



MEMBERS of Parliament will move into the new Parliament House today. A fresh beginning is being made. The occasion also calls for an honest assessment. On the first day of the special session, held in the old Parliament House on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled the many bitter-sweet memories of the building. Despite differences and disputes, he said in his speech, it witnessed Parivar Bhaav (a feeling of family). That sense of being part of a national collective, no matter the ideological positions, is fast waning. A breakdown in trust between the government and the Opposition is not unusual, but the persistent bitterness as well as the lack of traditional courtesies certainly are. What should set alarm bells ringing is any undermining of the customs and conventions that have shaped the values of our parliamentary system.

Scripting a new chapter in the conduct of our MPs would rate high on every citizen’s wishlist. The loss of public trust in Parliament’s ability to function normally and be productive should be a matter of concern for every political party. A section of the people developing a distaste for a prized institution is a worrying sign. Acrimonious scenes and trivialisation of issues that demand informed debates serve no purpose. The citizen shouldn’t be let down. The government should work against the possibility of a decline in the respect for the institution which would erode all that the new building sets out to represent. It cannot be seen as cold-shouldering the Opposition as a policy matter.

There is buzz about the Women’s Reservation Bill being cleared in the special session. More political space for women is a cherished dream, but mere physical presence would change little. Their voice must resonate. When optics and substance intermingle, the latter must predominate. That would be the real transformation.

#Narendra Modi


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