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People are losing faith in democratic institutions: Sumitra Mahajan

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Citing the example of 2001 Parliament terror attack, she said, “When terrorists attacked the Parliament, our security guards gave supreme sacrifice and prevented them from entering the House. On this, someone sarcastically commented, ‘how come not a single MP was killed in such a massive attack'”.

Expressing concern on rising instances of logjam in the Parliament, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on Friday said there exists a general notion that nothing concrete happens in the House with people gradually losing faith in democratic institutions.

“There is a general notion among public that despite spending huge amount of money, nothing happens in Parliament. There is a gradual decrease in the trust people put on democratic institutions. Such negative beliefs show that people are losing faith in us,” Mahajan said. She was speaking at the 78th edition of All India Presiding Officers Conference here today.

Citing the example of 2001 Parliament terror attack, she said, “When terrorists attacked the Parliament, our security guards gave supreme sacrifice and prevented them from entering the House. On this, someone sarcastically commented, ‘how come not a single MP was killed in such a massive attack'”. “This comment shook me to the core. Is that how we (MPs) are perceived by the people? However, I firmly believe that people’s faith is still there, we just need to strengthen it, so that negative beliefs do not create a permanent place in their minds. We have to think seriously about it,” she said.

Addressing the audience comprising of speakers and deputy speakers of legislative assemblies from various states, Mahajan emphasized the role of a Speaker in regaining the fading trust among people.
“Speaker sits above all others in the House. It is upon us how we use our powers. A speaker can do many things. We should see that discussions do not go in wrong direction. We should not just give orders but also ensure that dialogue takes place in the House,” she suggested.

The Lok Sabha Speaker noted that the number of Assembly sessions as well as the attendance of MPs, MLAs in many states was very less as against the expectation. “It is expected that state Assemblies meet for at least 60 days in a year if not the ideal figure of 90 days. But, several Assemblies meet for very less days. However, there are states like Bihar, where Assembly met for an impressive 75 days in 2014, while Karnataka Assembly met for 68 days in that year,” she said.

“In contrast, there are states where Assembly met for just 30 to 40 days in a year. I firmly believe that the number should increase. It is wrong to say that sessions were not called because there was nothing to discuss. I believe that there are many subjects which could be discussed,” she said.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, state Assembly Speaker Ganpat Vasava and Deputy Speaker Atmaram Parmar were also present at the function. As many as 27 speakers, 24 deputy speakers of various Legislative Assemblies and Legislative Councils, besides the deputy speaker of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha attended the three-day conference.PTI

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