New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday released a book by M. Venkaiah Naidu on his first year in office as the vice president of India. In the book, Naidu, who also doubles up as Rajya Sabha chairman, expressed his disappointment over the poor functioning of the house. Naidu completed one year as vice president on 10 August. The book titled Moving On, Moving Forward: A Year In Office also highlighted the strained political environment in the country.
“Venkaiah-ji is a disciplinarian, but our country’s situation is such that it has become easy to call discipline undemocratic. If someone calls for discipline, he is branded autocratic...the whole dictionary is opened," Modi said at the book launch.
Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan, former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and H.D. Deve Gowda, finance minister Arun Jaitley and Congress leader Anand Sharma also attended the event.
Expressing disappointment over the functioning of the parliament, Naidu said it was necessary to shape public discourse towards four key issues, including agriculture, and maintaining cultural identity.
“I am a little unhappy that our parliament is not functioning as it should. I would appeal to all political parties to come together on issues of national importance. The last session reflected the collective commitment towards social justice. Political parties must evolve a code of conduct for their leaders inside and outside the legislature otherwise people will lose confidence," Naidu said. He said the book was written to provide accountability and transparency. He also stressed on the need to bridge the urban-rural divide.
Hinting that the situation was more complicated in the current scenario, Deve Gowda said that Naidu was trying his best to protect the government and opposition parties.
“It is very difficult to maintain the dignity and decency of the chair of the Rajya Sabha or Lok Sabha unless there is cooperation by the opposition and the ruling parties. The situation is more complicated now and I don’t want to express how things are going on, but in the given circumstances, he is doing his best to protect the interests of both sides while discussion is going on," Gowda added.
“Politics outside Parliament has become very bitter. Legislative work will be hampered. If the debate outside is bitter, it is impossible to hold proper debate in the house," said Abhay Kumar Dubey, a New Delhi-based analyst.