Bombay (Mumbai) President Pranab Mukherjee has urged the nation to guard against “majoritarianism”, saying those in power must take the entire nation along at all times.
“Consultation and consensus is the best and often the only way forward,” he said, appreciating the measured tone of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the BJP victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
“In a Parliamentary democracy, we must always guard against majoritarianism. Those in power must involve and take the entire nation along with them at all times,” Mukherjee said in his speech at a conclave organised by India Today.
Appreciating Modi’s felicitation speech following the resounding win, he said, “I was extremely happy to hear Prime Minister Modi speak about the need for humility in the aftermath of his party’s victory in recent elections to Uttar Pradesh and other state assemblies.
“He asserted that while electoral verdicts are determined on the basis of ‘Bahumat’ (majority), the states will be governed on the principle of ‘Sarvamat’ (consensus). This is indeed India’s tradition and what the large majority of our people desire to see in action.”
In the speech circulated at the function, the President also mentioned the frequent disruption of Parliament, saying “I speak with some anguish because my entire public life has been defined by my role in Parliament.”
“It is, therefore, difficult for me to stand and watch this fundamental pillar of Indian democracy being rendered ineffective.
“In my view, there is absolutely no justification for constant disruption of proceedings, low level of attendance, shrinking in number of days that the Parliament and state legislatures meet as well as the irresponsible manner in which important legislation, including the budget and financial proposals, get passed with hardly any discussion,” he said.
President Mukherjee said it was of benefit to both the ruling party and the opposition “to break this vicious cycle” of disruptions and disorderly behaviour and also made an appeal to political leadership across the spectrum to arrive at an agreement that all protests and airing of grievances will be undertaken in a manner that the functioning of Parliament and legislatures are not disrupted.