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3 Sep 2012

PM's statement on the disruptions in Parliament

(Source-Press Information Bureau)
Question: The Opposition has literally held the Parliament in hostage demanding your resignation, will you be resigning? If not, then do you plan to plan to break the log jam? 
PM: Well, if I were resigning I wouldn’t have been here. I hope the Opposition will see sense. We are a parliamentary democracy. We have been elected by the people of India for a five-year term. I sincerely hope that the BJP will respect the verdict of the people and let the Government function. In a Parliamentary system, the majority has a right to rule. If the BJP feels that the majority cannot be trusted to govern the affairs of this country and they would like to run it their way that is a total negation of what the democratic politics is about. 
I sincerely hope and even now it is not too late that the BJP recognizes that there is too much at stake. We all have an obligation, in Opposition as well as Government, both should work together to take this parliamentary democracy, of which we are genuinely proud of, in tackling the problems of our country. Our country faces with enormous problems- look at what is happening in North-East, attempts to divide communities, to create gap between North and South, what happened in some southern cities. Also terrorism remains a serious threat. In addition Naxalism is a growing menace. Our country has done well despite all these odds but we cannot assume that we can continue to make a mess of the processes of governance and yet the country will continue to grow, that we will continue to create jobs for the young people. Let us concentrate on essentials and let us wait till the next elections to test the fortunes of various political parties. 
Question: Sir, you said that you would appeal to the BJP’s good sense to stop the political logjam. Clearly that’s not working. Sir, do you have any other way of overcoming the logjam. Do you have any way of taking this forward, because otherwise we will see no Parliament between now and the winter session? 
PM: Well I sincerely hope that there are people, welcoming people in all political parties and that they would all have the good sense to recognize that what is happening in our Parliament is not something which is doing credit to anyone. Beyond that, at this stage, I am not going to do anything. 
Question: Why are you allowing the BJP to set the political agenda? 
PM: I have to maintain the dignity of the office of the Prime Minister. I can’t get into a tu-tu main-main slanging match with other political leaders. So it is better, as I said earlier, that I keep silence. 
Question: Sir, in your second term as Prime Minister, you have been bogged down by many constraints, be it coalition politics, protests on the streets or be it the parliamentary deadlock over issues. Do you have any regrets. Could you tell us 5 things that you would have wanted to do but you have not been able to do till now? 
PM: Well we would have certainly liked to lay the foundation of 9 percent growth rate but international events have not helped and also lack of cohesiveness in our domestic politics was also a factor. There have been, for example, difficulties in giving effect to Goods and Services Tax. The Goods and Services Tax, as has been agreed upon, can lead to increase the GDP of the country by 1-2%. It will streamline the tax system, minimize scope for evasion. But there are problems because we are not able to push through. Also I would very much have liked, that the opposition would give us a chance to work in a manner that the basic problems of India like poverty, hunger, disease can be tackled effectively. Unfortunately, from one crisis to the other, the BJP has chosen to disrupt Parliament. These are all diversionary tactics. One has 24 hrs at one’s disposal. If one is preoccupied all the time with handling these diversionary tactics, naturally it affects the ability and capacity of the government to attend to its more fundamental tasks, which I am always saying is to grapple with the mass poverty and ignorance and disease which still affect millions and millions of our citizens. 

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