President Pranab Mukherjee heaped praises on PM Narendra Modi at the India Today Conclave. Speaking at the event Mukherjee said be it foreign relations or economy, Modi has acquired in-depth knowledge on every subject. “One can win the election by a majority but you need consensus to rule,This aspect of PM Modi is very good. PM Modi has his own way of dealing with things & we must give him credit for that”. He further said that the PM is a very good learner”.
President Pranab Mukherjee stressed on Friday the need to guard against “majoritarianism”, saying those in power must take the entire nation along at all times.
Also, he said disruptions in Parliament are unacceptable as nobody has the moral authority to postpone the business of the House.
“Consultation and consensus is the best and often the only way forward,” he said, lauding the speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the BJP scored landslide victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Mukherjee, whose five-year term comes to an end this July, spoke about the Prime Minister Modi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh.
“I have learnt a lot from the calm wisdom and great scholarship in the field of economics of Dr Manmohan Singh, who has been a colleague and friend of long. I have also been deeply impressed by the focused approach, energy and capacity for hard work of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
The President also extolled the “personal touch” former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee imparted to his interactions with opposition leaders.
Terming Vajpayee as a leader in the Nehruvian mould, the President said he had many sterling human qualities and always combined courtesy with political sagacity.
“He successfully led an NDA coalition comprising different parties with leaders holding divergent views as Prime Minister for over six years.”
In his candid speech, the president expressed serious concern over disruptive politics and mentioned how Lok Sabha’s productivity had declined over the years due to disruptions and walkouts.
Mukherjee further expressed concerns over the continued disruption in Parliament and said the primary job of the members in the House to make laws. “I speak with some anguish because my entire public life has been defined by my role in Parliament,” he said. There was no justification for the constant disruption in House proceedings, he said, adding that democracy is undermined when Parliament fails to function effectively.
Citing statistics, Mukherjee said, “In the first Lok Sabha (1952-57), there were 677 sittings and 319 bills were passed, whereas in the15th Lok Sabha, only 357 sittings took place and 181 bills were passed. This happened due to disruptions, which is unacceptable to me. The first budget was of Rs 397 crore, whereas the size of the latest budget is Rs 17 lakh crore. Make a comparison of the time spent on discussions on expenditures! Nobody has the moral authority to disrupt or stall the proceedings of the House at the cost of taxpayers’ money.”
President ended the speech by saying, “I am part of this democracy. I am part of the mass and will melt into it without leaving a legacy”.
Making his retirement plan clear, Mukherjee said he would like to quit public life and go back to his native place in West Bengal and lead Durga Puja at his home as long as he can.