MPs must come together, stand behind soldiers: PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday noted that Parliament’s monsoon session is being held in an extraordinary manner, with social distancing and with the two Houses conducting business in shifts, and urged MPs to send out a message that they were standing with soldiers at a time when they were bravely doing their duty in a difficult border terrain.
The PM’s allusion was to the standoff at the border in eastern Ladakh, where the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are within a few hundred metres of each other amid tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“This Parliament has a special duty; today our brave soldiers are at the borders with zeal and confidence in difficult terrain and soon it will begin to snow. They are there for the protection of the country, all MPs should together send a message to the soldiers that the whole country is with them. All MPs in one voice will say they are standing behind the brave soldiers,” he said in a customary address to the media before House proceedings began.
Modi also thanked MPs for choosing the path to duty in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I congratulate them and expressed gratitude to them. This time, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will be held at different times in a day. It will be held on Saturday and Sunday as well. And all the MPs have accepted this,” he said.
After the budget session was cut short in March owing to the pandemic, Parliament reconvened on Monday for an 18-day session. While Zero Hour has been reduced and Question Hour dropped in view of the curtailed business hours, the PM expressed hope that Parliament will raise important issues.
“There will be discussion on various issues and we have experience that in Lok Sabha that the whole country tends to benefit from the detailed and extensive discussions that take place. We will continue that great tradition and all MPs will add value to it.”
The PM also urged MPs and the media to abide by social distancing protocols. “In these circumstances, we will abide by the protocols; till there is a vaccine we cannot let down our guard.”
Later, in the Rajya Sabha, speaking after the election of Janata Dal (United) leader Harivansh as deputy speaker, the Prime Minister commented on the productivity of the House last year, and said that several bills that changed the direction of the country were passed.
“This House made a new record for being the most productive even when it was an election year. This is a great matter of pride that apart from productivity, positivity also grew in the house,” he said.
Reacting to the PM’s statement on soldiers, Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut, said: “The entire country has stood by the Army irrespective of whose government is at the Centre.”
“On matters of National Security, Parliament as well as the Nation has always spoken in one voice. It is the PM himself who stood out by dismissing the incursion by PLA on our land in order to change the LAC unilaterally. It was PM who struck a discordant note by giving a clean chit to the Chinese. Our valiant soldiers have retaliated in full might and we are grateful for their supreme sacrifices...We must teach the aggressor a lesson...,” said Congress spokesperson Pranav Jha.