While starting his speech, Atal said – ‘I want to start from the beginning. The President addressed the joint session of both the Houses of Parliament on 24 February. He does this every year. Read the written speech. In this matter her position is like that of the Queen of Britain. But, the Queen of Britain gets full respect from the members of Parliament. Here there are interruptions in the President’s address. Sometimes there is boycott. Sometimes the situation can become even worse.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said that he has been listening to the addresses of Presidents since 1957. That day, he was sitting in the Central Hall wondering whether the President’s address was necessary? Has it become a ritual? Are we able to protect that opportunity? Should the President’s address be made a subject of debate?
I have been listening to the speeches of Presidents since 1957. That day I was sitting in the Central Hall thinking whether the President’s address is necessary? Has it become a ritual? Are we able to protect that opportunity? Should the President’s address be made a topic of gossip?
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal had mentioned the President’s difficulty in a funny manner
Vajpayee again said, ‘Okay, our President does not address the entire nation like the President of America. Its constitutional status is different there. But, what kind of trouble does our President get into here? Let us think about this a little. First he read the speech of Vishwanath Pratap Singh’s government. Later the government of Chandrashekhar government. Now he read the speech written by Narasimha Rao Sarkar. I don’t know if something will happen today, I know it won’t. Now prepare the President to read a speech again. I think this should be considered.
Atal had also mentioned the condition of the states. Told him it was even worse. He had said, ‘The situation is even worse in the states. When the governors come to the sessions of the Legislature to deliver speeches, they remain prepared for scuffles. They are prevented from entering the House. Are prevented from speaking. Papers are thrown on them. Documents are tossed. The Governor reads the first and last page of the speech and goes back. This situation is not right. What is the need to put them in this situation? This is a serious matter.’
Narasimha Rao kept laughing at Vajpayee’s speech
Vajpayee then called for establishing old traditions and adding new ones. He had said that democracy cannot be made a subject of ridicule. He had said, ‘I would like to establish the old tradition in this regard. If needed, there is an opportunity to establish new traditions. Let us not make democracy a subject of ridicule. Do not set wrong ideals in front of the new generation. If we cannot protect the dignity of an occasion, then avoid that occasion. You can call an all-party meeting in this regard. Can make a code of conduct.
Then Atal ji mentioned the things written in the President’s speech. It was described as unnecessarily long. He had said, ‘This (President’s) speech is longer than necessary. What is the need to keep small things in the mouth of the President? There are 30 chapters in it. I think the 30th passage was a hasty addition later. This is a very long paragraph. It is related to education. It may be that the Education Minister is busy somewhere, traveling from Kukdeshwar to Chitrakoot. They may not have got time. This paragraph does not feel good to read. Doesn’t even sit properly in the whole speech.
When Atal was saying all this, the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao was laughing. Other members of Parliament were also laughing with him.
Atal had also targeted the then government. He had said that when this government was formed, it was announced that the country should be run on the basis of consensus. This government was in the minority. It was felt that it would take everyone along. This happened for a few days. But, later there was no attempt to build a consensus.