Text of PM's message at the end of parliament's monsoon session

Text of PM's message at the end of parliament's monsoon session

Following is the text of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's message Friday after parliament's monsoon session ended:

My fellow citizens

We have just ended a wasted session of Parliament when both Houses were not allowed to function. The cause of the repeated disruption was that we had received a report of the CAG on the allocation of coal blocks which alleged some infirmities in the process.

Instead of discussing this report in the PAC, which is the normal procedure, or even discussing it immediately in Parliament, which we offered to do, leaders of the opposition saw fit to demand my resignation before Parliament was even allowed to take a view on the report.

I feel very strongly that this is making a mockery of parliamentary democracy. We take pride in our parliamentary democracy and the tradition of free debate that it implies. Only a few months ago, during the 60th year celebrations of our Parliament, I said that the story of the Indian Parliament is a story of India striving for freedom and dignity; for tolerance and equality; for peace and progress.

We do not live up to these high ideals if we simply do not let Parliament function. The Government and the opposition both have a sacred obligation to strengthen our parliamentary system. We do incalculable damage to the reputation of India's Parliament if we resort to disruption of Parliament to make a political point.

Those who prevent Parliament from functioning, disable the voice of the people. They take away their right to hear their representatives debate issues in a reasoned manner when the case for and against a point of view can be heard. They force them to listen instead only to voices in the street, which is not the place for reasoned discourse.

This is the road to a dysfunctional politics which will only produce agitational politics and a deeply divided and disenchanted country.

I have high respect for the CAG as an institution. I believe we strengthen it only by taking its reports seriously enough to discuss them in the PAC and in the House. PAC reports deal with complex issues on which there can be different points of view and all these must be heard fully before rushing to judgement. We do not strengthen the CAG as an institution by using its reports to prevent discussion and cause disruption.

I assure all of you that the issues raised in the CAG report are not being swept under the carpet. They will be discussed in parliament as they should be. Whatever corrective action is necessary will be taken.

We are faced with many internal and external problems and challenges. There are problems of communal tension, ethnic violence and the ever present threat of Naxalism. Terrorism remains a serious threat. The nation should be concerned about what is happening in the Northeast.

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