Rajya Sabha members urge reforms

New Delhi: On the occasion of the 250th session of Rajya Sabha on Monday, the members of the House, cutting across party lines, called for various reforms in proceedings, research oriented deliberations and sought more working hours.

On the opening day of the winter session, the House members held a special discussion on the role of Rajya Sabha in Indian polity and the need for reforms. Highlighting theuniqueness of the Upper House, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav urged that “whatever happens in Lok Sabha should not be imitated in Rajya Sabha.”

“Lok Sabha should not dictate the deliberation or discussion of Rajya Sabha,” he said.

He complained that as soon as Prime Minister Narendra Modi left the house following his address on the occasion, the treasury bench members also left the house.

“They feel that whether they sit or don’t, it hardly makes any differences. Uttering idealism will not suffice the need,” he said.

Senior Biju Janata Dal leader Prasanna Acharya said that they have always cooperated with the chair and never obstructed the House.

“This House has given Prime Ministers. Now, we need to introspect as there are no proper representations of Northeastern states,” Acharya said. He also stressed that proper representation will only strengthen the India’s federal system.

Ram Chandra Prasad Singh from Janata Dal said that there should be adequate representation of small states, especially from Union Territories.

“There should be some kind of mechanism wherein research-based discussion or deliberation takes place,” said Singh, while batting for more working hours.

Commenting on the Rajya Sabha’s role, Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader Kancherla Keshava Rao said it is deliberating body. He said that issues raised in Lok Sabha are discussed at ease in Rajya Sabha as this House believe in serious discussion.

“We need to improve by bring more people from backward areas in the House. Many members from the smaller states are unable to raise issues in the House and it needs to ponder upon.”

He also said that most of the time of the House is consumed by bigger political parties so there is an urgent need to increase the working hours to hear the representation from backward areas.

Asom Gana Parishad leader Birendra Prasad Baishya also raised the issue.

“Every state has a specific problem and that needs to be heard. In Northeast region each state has own issue and it cannot have general solution,” he said, urging giving more time to hear problems from the smaller states.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Bhupendra Yadav said that he has learnt a lot hearing the deliberation between the late Arun Jaitley and Congress leader Anand Sharma and he wants the tradition of discussion in dignified manner should continue in the House for ever.

T. K. Rangarajan leader of Communist Party of India (Marxist) from Tamil Nadu said that Bills in the Rajya Sabha should not be approved in haste as it happened in the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir.

“There needs to be proper discussion in the House. Each state’s culture and identity should be preserved,” Rangarajan reiterated.

Talking about disruption of certain hours in House, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Naresh Gujral said: “When we disrupt certain hours over some issues during the session, we let down people back. This needs to end and we should have serious deliberations, special session for major crisis.”

He also urged the Chairman of House to end the system of giving two to three minutes leaders representing smaller states.

Praful Patel of Nationalist Congress Party said that Rajya Sabha is called the Council of States and its uniqueness should be maintained.

“It is also known a corrective house and is evolving. As there are no adequate representations from smaller states, the House should make changes to bring them on board,” he said.

Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party urged the House to not simply ignore the private members’ bills. “It should be taken to logical end and not turned out to be merely formality.”

Talking about current challenges before the House, Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “We have witnessed a lot of challenges and each time we came out stronger. We should not pass any bill in haste and we should always work in interest of the country.”

Finally, the Chairman of House Venkaiah Naidu requested the members to increase their “attendance and attention” and maintain decorum and decency while deliberatiing in the House.