A day before the winter session of Parliament starts, Vice-President Hamid Ansari said members should be allowed to express their views without fear of violating party discipline.
“We need political consensus so that room for political and policy expression in Parliament for a member is expanded,” he said on Thursday. “A whip could be limited to Bills that could threaten the survival of a government, such as money Bills and no-confidence motions.”
The Rajya Sabha chairman also pushed for participation of Union ministers in meetings of parliamentary standing committees related to their ministries. “Lack of ministerial participation curtails the efficacy of the committee process.”
Reacting to his suggestion on freedom for MPs, the Congress called for wider consultations. “He has articulated a legitimate argument that goes to the heart of parliamentary democracy. It should be taken on board,” said party spokesman Manish Tewari.
The BJP’s Prakash Javadekar said: “The whip is never used as a gag in our party. At the same time... the suggestion has been made out of experience and anybody will agree with its basic spirit.”