Prime Miniser Narendra Modi on Tuesday lamented the growing absence of wit and humour in Parliamentary proceedings remarking that lawmakers fear how media will play it up.
"Humour and wit are gradually fading away from Parliamentary proceedings as members are apprehensive as to what colour the 24x7 (media) would give to even one proverb they utter," he said. Modi was speaking at a function at which Arun Jaitley, Karan Singh and Sharad Yadav were presented the outstanding Parliamentarian awards by President Pranab Mukherjee in the presence of Vice President Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan along with a galaxy of parliamentarians.
He recalled a barb by Sushma Swaraj on Sharad Pawar during a function in Parliament some two decades back dubbing him as Lalita Pawar (veteran actress known for her negative roles). He said while the NCP leader thoroughly enjoyed the remark, there was no proper coverage of the light banter.
The Prime Minister also said that Parliament does not function only on the basis of oratory.
"As long as there is no confluence of oratory, action and leadership, neither Parliament can be influenced nor nations would be inspired", he said. He also wanted a survey to be undertaken to get feedback from the people about the functioning of Parliament. He said this would give ideas on how to move forward.
He suggested that the Lok Sabha call a meeting of the state assembly Speakers to explore the possibility of giving such awards to legislators. Modi also heaped praise on the President who pops out with dates and time of historical events and detailed information and wondered of "what software his brain was made of".
"A half-an-hour talk with him is like reading a good book," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Mukherjee said he was touched by the gesture of the Prime Minister when he bowed his head at the stairs of Parliament after winning the Lok Sabha elections as this symbolises the dignity and sanctity of the temple of democracy. The President urged the newly-elected members of Lok Sabha to uphold the dignity of Parliament.
Vice President Hamid Ansari expressed happiness that the Upper House was winner in "absolute and per capita" manner in awards as all three members who won the awards were now members of the Rajya Sabha.
Accepting the award for 2010, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said he learnt a lot from his seniors including Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Mukherjee during his tenure as an MP in Parliament.
Karan Singh urged the members to maintain the dignity of the House by resorting to debate rather than disruption as the country was watching the House. Sharad Yadav said Parliament should take into account the condition of the poor and work towards their betterment as it has not changed much after independence.