Mangalore, July 7: The quality of discussion and values of democracy have deteriorated over a period of time in the last 60 years of Karnataka Legislative Assembly’s history and voters too are partly responsible for this, said Siddharamaiah, Leader of Opposition, Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
He was delivering a talk at the valedictory programme of a seminar on ‘Sixty years of Karnataka Legislative Assembly’ organized by the Department of Political Science, St Agnes College, Mangalore, on Saturday.
Stating that he has seen things unfold at Vidhana Soudha for 30 years now, Mr. Siddharamaiah said that many changes had taken place over a period of time. “Today discussions are not taking place the way they are meant to. If an issue is raised, the ruling party members create ruckus and do not allow proceedings to go on. But people, who are supposed to elect representatives, are also to be blamed. Because of poor voter turnouts, the right candidates do not find a place in the Assembly, who could discuss people’s problems. The primary duty of MLAs is to see that laws that could benefit the people are enacted. But today, it is unfortunate that they engage in everything else other than that”, Mr. Siddharamaiah said.
The senior Congress leader took a dig at Speaker K G Bopaiah on the occasion. “The moment an elected representative occupies the chair of the Speaker, he should leave aside his political affiliations. But Speaker Bopaiah acted against the spirit of the Constitution by disqualifying 16 MLAs. The Supreme Court too objected to it and termed it unconstitutional”, Mr. Siddharamaiah lamented. A good Speaker is one who speaks less, he added.
Briefing the gathering, mostly comprising of political science students, about the beginnings and history of Legislative Assembly in Karnataka, Mr. Siddharamaiah said that in the early years of the post-independence era, the impact of freedom struggle was evident in the approach of MLAs in the Assembly and people’s problems were discussed with greater concern. “The likes of K C Reddy and even Ramkrishna Hegde were able to give good governances because the Gandhian ideals and the impact of freedom struggle on them was very much there”, he noted.
Mr. Siddharamiah also stated on the occasion that in spite of India having a written constitution, the quality of proccedings in the Assembly and the Parliament had deteriorated in a span of 60 years whereas the British parliament continues to maintain its traditions and dignity in proceedings although they do not possess a written constitution.
Congress leaders Vinay Kumar Sorake and Ivan D’Souza were also present.
Earlier in the morning, the seminar was inaugurated by D H Shankaramurthy, Chairman of the Karnataka Legislative Council.