Former President Pranab Mukherjee Pitches for Enhancing Seats in Parliament


Team Udayavani, Feb 16, 2019, 4:18 AM IST

New Delhi: Former president Pranab Mukherjee on Friday pitched for increasing the number of seats in Parliament in proportion to the size of the electorate, saying it was “necessary” to make the most democratic institution of the country “truly representative”.

Addressing a gathering at an event at Vigyan Bhawan here, he said since 1977, it had “not been increased”. “I would also like to draw the attention to some of the other shortcomings that have crept in the Parliamentary system. The disproportionately large size of the electorate vis-a-vis the number of representatives is a matter of concern,” Mukherjee said.

Currently, the strength of the Lok Sabha is 545 — 543 elected members and a maximum of two members of the Anglo-Indian community nominated by the president.

“There is a need to enhance the number of seats in Parliament in proportion to the size of the population to make the most democratic institution of the country truly representative,” Mukherjee said.

Since 1977, there had been readjustments of the territorial limits of the constituencies or delimitation, but no enhancement in the number of seats, he rued.

“This question truly needs to be pondered seriously,” Mukherjee said. The former president was speaking at an event to release a compilation of speeches of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.

In his address, Naidu spoke about the disruptions in the proceedings of Parliament and state Assemblies.

“It is very unfortunate that our legislatures, instead of becoming effective forums of debate, are being reduced to disruptive platforms.

“This growing tendency, in my view, is a clear negation of the vision of the makers of the Constitution. In a way, it is an affront to the spirit of the Constitution of India. It is apathy towards the hopes and aspirations of the people. It is utter disregard for the people’s mandate. It is a betrayal of the people’s faith in these pillars of democracy,” he rued.

Naidu said it was a matter of concern that the political discourse was “reaching a new low in recent years”. “We should reverse this trend at the earliest. People in public life should understand that they are only rivals, not enemies. I have often been quoting Pranabda’s mantra of ‘discuss, debate and decide but not disturb’,” the vice-president said.

Against the backdrop of “worrisome functioning” of our Parliament and state legislatures, “this disruptive, dysfunctional tendency needs to be made an election issue,” Naidu added.

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