President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday said parliament is the “temple of the country’s democracy” which provides the highest forum to debate issues for the well-being of people, in his first remarks following an abrupt end to an acrimonious monsoon session.
In a televised address to the nation on the eve of the 75th Independence Day, the President also referred to the second wave of COVID-19, expressing grief at the huge number of deaths. Saying that the country is not yet out of the woods when it comes to Covid, he urged people to not let their guard down.
President Kovind also sought to address the concerns raised by protesting farmers’ unions against the three contentious farm laws, saying the series of agricultural marketing reforms will empower our ‘annadata’ farmers and help them get better price for their produce.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned on Wednesday, two days ahead of the scheduled date, after a tumultuous session that witnessed chaos and physical clashes in the upper house when a bill to allow a greater private sector hand in public sector insurers was being passed.
The government and the opposition parties traded charges over the abrupt end of the monsoon session which was marred by continuous disruptions since it commenced on July 19.
The opposition parties accused the government of crushing their voice in parliament, “murdering” democracy and bringing “outsiders” as marshals to beat up MPs, a charge denied by the government. The government on its part had alleged that it was pre-planned by the opposition to not allow parliament to function.
President Kovind said when India won independence, many sceptics thought democracy would not survive in India.
“Little did they know that roots of democracy were nurtured in this soil in ancient times, and even in modern times India was ahead of many western nations in offering franchise to all adults, regardless of any distinctions.”
The founding fathers had reposed their faith in the wisdom of the people, and ‘we, the people of India” have made India a strong democracy, he added.
“We have adopted the system of parliamentary democracy. Therefore, our parliament is the temple of our democracy which provides us highest forum where we discuss, debate and decide issues for the well-being of our people,” the President said.
President Kovind also said it is a matter of great pride for all Indians that parliament will soon be housed in a new building.
“It will be a fitting statement of our outlook. It will honour our legacy while also walking in step with the contemporary world, he said, adding that it is more than symbolic that the new building will be inaugurated in the year of the 75th anniversary of Independence,” he said.
Referring to the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics, he praised the “stellar” performance by the country’s sportspersons.
(With inputs from PTI)