Declining quality of public discourse unfortunate, leaders’ behaviour influence others: VP Naidu

New Delhi: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday expressed strong concerns over the “declining quality of public discourse” while asserting that it is the behaviour of political leaders that influences others.

Speaking at the launch of two volumes of select speeches of President Ram Nath Kovind – The Republican Ethic and Loktantra ke Swar here on Saturday, Naidu said, “There is a need to have public representatives who have character, conduct, calibre and capacity. It is unfortunate that the quality of public discourse has been steadily declining in the last few years. This must not be allowed to persist. We are in a public life, we are rivals, not enemies.”

Quoting ‘Bhagavad Gita’ he further said, “The behaviour of the leaders influences the behaviour of all others. We need to have more people in a leadership position who are mindful of not only constitutional morality but also institutional dignity and individual integrity.”

Naidu also outlined the need for political parties to evolve a consensus on the code of conduct for their members both inside the legislature and out of it while saying that if it doesn’t happen people might start losing their faith in the political parties and institution.

The Vice President emphasised that the clean polity and wavering commitment to constitution morality is the transformation that India needs.

While stressing on the need to implement anti-defection law in letter and spirit, he said, “If a member desires to change the party, he must do so by resigning from the membership of the House. The anti-defection law should be implemented within three months. I know that this is absolutely feasible since I could dispose of the petitions that I received within that time frame.”

He further lamented on the large number of cases pending against the politicians and said that “for healthy democracy the integrity of elections process is essential”.

“The integrity of the election process is essential for a healthy democracy. It would be ideal if the judiciary can expedite a decision on election petitions. If needed, special courts could be set up for dealing with election petition. It indeed is a matter of grave concern that nearly 4127 cases against politician are waiting to be disposed of, special courts should be constituted and the process should be fast track. It should not take more than a year to achieve finality in each case. It is essential for strengthening democracy,” he added.