‘Carry others with you’: Pranab Mukherjee cautions against majoritarian govt
Delivering the second Atal Bihari Vajpayee memorial lecture, Pranab Mukherjee, a close friend of the late prime minister, underlined the intrinsic nature of the Indian democracyUpdated: Aug 08, 2020 00:11 IST
People in power think they can do anything on the basis of numerical majority in the legislature but that should not be the case, former president and Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday, as he cautioned the government against running a “majoritarian government”.
Delivering the second Atal Bihari Vajpayee memorial lecture, Mukherjee, a close friend of the late prime minister, underlined the intrinsic nature of the Indian democracy. He said the country’s political players have never clearly understood the message of the voters.
“The mandate is to govern as a majority party with a stable government, but carry others with you,” Mukherjee said, adding that every time a government has behaved otherwise the voters have rejected the party in the next election. “That is why we think we can do anything and everything, when we have an overwhelming majority in the legislature. But that should not be the case,” he said.Watch: Amid CAA protests, Pranab Mukherjee’s word of caution for Modi govt
“A numerical majority in elections gives you the right to make a stable government. The lack of popular majority forbids you from a majoritarian government. That is the message and essence of our parliamentary democracy,” he said.
Mukherjee’s comments comes at a time when the Opposition has attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of running an authoritarian government.
Mukherjee said that the Indian electorate has the ability make a distinction between electoral majorities and majoritarianism, Mukherjee said, adding that they have enabled the ruling party to take along all minority opinions.
The former president, who was a parliamentarian for four decades, said there is a “disproportionately large size of the electorate vis-à-vis the number of public representatives”. He said the last enhancement of Lok Sabha seats took place in 1977, and it “should ideally increase to about 1,000 Lok Sabha MPs with a corresponding rise in the number of MPs in Rajya Sabha and the state legislatures”.
Mukherjee also shared glimpses of his long friendship with Vajpayee, describing the latter as “an inheritor and practitioner of the best traditions and qualities of leadership that India can be proud of”.