Monday, March 1, 2021

‘Hostility between govt, Opposition hampers House’: Ex-vice president Ansari

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  • In his soon-to-be-released memoir, By Many a Happy Accident, Ansari said he never allowed the passage of a bill in the event of a commotion in the House.

By Sunetra Choudhury, SNN, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON JAN 29, 2021 04:09 AM IST

Boycott of the President’s address by Opposition parties may be a symbolic move but the hostility between the ruling party and the opposition is becoming “ugly”, former vice-president of India Hamid Ansari said after leaders of 17 political parties on Thursday said they will boycott President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to Parliament to express protest over the new agriculture laws.

Open communication between the government and the Opposition is the prerequisite of parliamentary democracy, Ansari said, adding, “If there is hostility (between the two sides), communication breaks down. And then it (democracy) cannot work.”

Ansari said: “Every five years, sides change…Parliamentary democracy requires the observance of certain etiquette or procedures and unless those are observed, the system cannot work.” He said the government of the day has to exercise persuasion as a critical skill for democratic functioning and talk to people on the other side.

In his soon-to-be-released memoir, By Many a Happy Accident, Ansari said he never allowed the passage of a bill in the event of a commotion in the House. He didn’t comment on the manner in which the farm laws were passed, with the Opposition walking out but upheld the importance of standing and select committees, the panels the Opposition demanded should scrutinise the bills. “It takes a little time but every step has been carefully calibrated,’’ he said.

“We have had a derailment in our system of Parliamentary governance. In the 50s and 60s, the Parliament used to sit for 90-100 days in a year. Now, it is 60 days. How can you finish the work in this time, unless you make undue haste? And undue haste is embodied in these kinds of exercises.’’

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