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Ansari warns against undermining of ‘constitutional intent of scrutiny of legislation’

New Delhi: Vice President M Hamid Ansari today warned against any attempt to undermine the constitutional intent of scrutiny of legislation.

Referring to “events in the recent past” and taking a cue from a recent article by historian Ramachandra Guha that talks about “democracy being reduced to its electoral aspect only”, the Vice President, at book launch here, spoke of the pitfalls of a propensity for symbolism, grand-standing and shortcuts.

He also cautioned against any attempt to “undermine the constitutional intent of scrutiny of legislation, of meaningful accountability and discussion on issues of public concern” and said that “these temptations should, must, be eschewed”.

Ansari was speaking here at the release of the book, ‘This Unquiet Land – Stories from India’s Fault Lines’, by television journalist Barkha Dutt.

Stating that the identification of ‘fault lines’ by Dutt made for “distressing and disturbing reading” he said, “They portray failures of governance resulting from acts of omission or commission, even of mendacity; they were disruptive of social cohesion and resulted in harming — at times grievously — citizens of India.”

Ansari mentioned that some of the dates in the years 1984, 1992-1993, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 are etched in public memory.

Meanwhile, poet Vikram Seth, who read out excerpts from the book, commended Dutt for her work and said what India can teach the world lies not in yoga or any other thing but in how people can live in harmony with each other.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah also participated in a discussion on the book and political events in the country, including the ongoing National Herald case, diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and the ongoing debate on environmental pollution in Delhi.

Among those in attendance were lyricist Javed Akthar, actor Shabana Azmi, sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons, politicians P Chidamabaram, Jay Panda and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.