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Constructive debate must to make Parliamentary democracy solid: President ahead of Budget session

Kolkata: Just days ahead of Budget session, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said “concrete decisions” must be taken after constructive debate to make Parliamentary democracy “solid”, even as he expressed concern over “growing intolerance”.

Asserting that “there is no place for intolerance in democracy”, he said a Parliamentary democracy is not “solid” enough if no “concrete decisions” are taken after constructive debate.

He also said media can play an important role in ensuring Parliament runs constructively and peacefully.

Speaking at the 35th anniversary of one of leading Bengali newspaper Aaajkaal, Mukherjee said, “What we are experiencing the trend is not proper. We are becoming intolerant day-by-day. There is no place for intolerance in democracy.”

He said democracy follows the principle of tolerance and therefore one needs to respect different ideologies.

“You have to respect other ideologies. Without different ideologies, real democracy is not possible,” he said.

Recalling what he had learnt about democracy in college, the President said, “My teacher used to say 3Ds are essential in democracy — debate, dissension and decision.”

Without mentioning the virtual washout of the last session of Parliament, he said, “If there is no debate in Parliamentary democracy and after debate if there is no concrete decision taken, we cannot say that Parliamentary democracy is solid enough.”

Emphasising the role of media in Parliamentary democracy, he said, “I am not saying this as I would like to speak in a negative tone. We have to think about future in a positive way. If someone deviates from the ideology, media can show the way.”

Media can create impact on policymakers and bring a change in the policy system, he said, adding ‘Aaajkaal’ is creating the impact for the last 35 years, especially in Bengal political arena.

He also recalled renowned cartoonist P K S Kutty as well as R K Laxman and V Shankar and the role they played in raising issues of public interest. 

“I was a regular target of cartoons by Kutty who used to

draw for Aaajkaal. Until I stopped smoking, I was always identified in caricatures with a trademark pipe. It is good to enjoy and laugh at cartoons of oneself,” he said.

He also recalled how first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru used to repeatedly tell cartoonist V Shankar, ‘Don’t spare me’.

“If you want to raise public opinion, cartoonists and media can do it the best. It creates an impact in the whole society. Now a days, you can feel the importance of this,” Mukherjee said.

Aaajkaal started in 1981 and its logo was designed by legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, he said.

A commemorative issue of Aajkaal, a pictorial coffee table book and first copy of the book ‘St Teresa of Calcutta’ was presented to the President.

Governor Keshrinath Tripathi, state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim, cricketer Saurav Ganguly, Aajkaal Chairman Satyam Roychowdhury were among others present at the event. 

Source: Zee News