Mentioning that in India we have a robust participatory democracy and a vibrant multiparty system where the hopes and aspirations of the citizens find expression through the elected representatives, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that all members enjoy the freedom to express their views and thoughts in Lok Sabha.
Birla was sharing his thoughts on the subject "Promoting peaceful co-existence and inclusive societies: Fight against intolerance" at the General Debate during 146th Assembly of Inter-Parliamentary Union. He referred to the unhindered right of Members to express their views in Parliament.
This statement from the Lok Sabha Speaker comes after Rahul Gandhi in his address at the Cambridge alleged that the Opposition's voice was being stifled in parliament.
Rahul alleged that constraints were being put on the Parliament, press and Judiciary in the country.
"Everybody knows and it's been in the news a lot that Indian democracy is under pressure and under attack. I am an Opposition leader in India, we are navigating that (Opposition) space. The institutional framework which is required for a democracy -- Parliament, free press, the judiciary, just the idea of mobilisation, moving around -- all are getting constrained. So, we are facing an attack on the basic structure of Indian democracy," the Congress MP alleged.
Sharing a picture of himself in the presentation slide in which he is seen being held by the police personnel, the Congress leader claimed that the Opposition leaders were "locked up" in jail for "just standing" in front of the Parliament House to talk about some issues, while also alleging that such incidents have happened "relatively violently".
Reiterating India's longstanding view that all global issues should be resolved peacefully through dialogue, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla informed that the Parliament of India has always held extensive and meaningful debate and deliberations on contemporary global challenges such as climate change, gender equality, sustainable development and covid-19 pandemic. He emphasized that global institutions propagating peace, harmony and justice are crucial for peace, prosperity, sustainability and just world order.
In this context, Birla said that in global institutions like the UN Security Council, there is a broad consensus among many nations to bring about reforms to reflect the realities of a rapidly changing world order. Observing that this important matter requires serious discussions, Lok Sabha Speaker stressed that reform in the UN Security Council cannot be delayed any further. He said that it is crucial that the subject is included in future global agendas so that we could contribute more and more to addressing challenges such as climate change, sustainable development, poverty, gender equality and terrorism.
Highlighting India's readiness to fulfil its global obligations, Birla invited attention to the fact that India has carried out the world's largest vaccination programme against COVID-19 for its citizens and at the same time helped other nations in their respective fights against the pandemic by providing medical equipment and vaccines under Vaccine Maitri. Similarly, Birla was happy to note that India is leading the world in the articulation of the Global Climate Action Plan to combat the issue of climate change.
Observing that India has always given the message of peace and harmony to the entire world, Birla reiterated India's belief that building an inclusive and tolerant society is only possible through peaceful coexistence, mutual discussions and dialogue. He mentioned that our Parliaments have a decisive role to play in this regard. He exhorted the world community to come together to build a better future for humanity.
A day before, Members of the Indian Parliamentary Delegation participated in various Sessions organized in parallel on the first day of the Assembly. Poonamben Maadam, MP and a Member of the Bureau of Women Parliamentarians of the IPU, attended the meeting of the Bureau and the plenary session of the forum of Women Parliamentarians. Aparajita Sarangi, Bhartuhari Mahtab and Radha Mohan Das Agarwal, Members of Parliament, attended the meeting of the Asia Pacific Group of the IPU.
During the meeting, Sarangi, who is also a member of the Executive Committee of the IPU, briefed the Asia-Pacific Group members about the activities of the Executive Committee in the last six months. Later, the group decided on its nomination about for the forthcoming vacancies in various IPU bodies. Sumalatha Ambreesh, MP was endorsed by the Group for members of the High-Level Advisory Group on Counter Terrorism and Violent Extremism.
The Asian Parliamentary Assembly also held its Coordinating Meeting on the sidelines of the Assembly. Vishnu Dayal Ram and Sasmit Patra, Members of Parliament attended the above meeting.
On March 10, Om Birla visited Manama with a Parliamentary delegation to attend the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The Lok Sabha Speaker received a warm welcome from the Deputy Chairman and Members of the Bahrain Parliament Shura Jamal Fakhro.
He also visited the famous Shrinathji Temple and played Holi with the Indians during his visit. (ANI)