Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar: Still have highest regard for MPs

Kolkata, Dec 25, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS): An ever-optimistic Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar here on Friday said that she still has the highest regard for Indian lawmakers and faith in the country’s democracy, despite only seven hours of productivity in the 22 day-Winter Session of Parliament.

Proceedings of the House were gridlocked by an uncharacteristically unified opposition since Nov. 9 over its demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the 2G spectrum scam which the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government steadfastly rejected.

The government maintains that the ongoing Public Accounts Committee (PAC) probe is sufficient, even as the opposition, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), cries hoarse with JPC chants wasting nearly the entire 138 scheduled working hours in the Winter Session.

On Friday, she said, “I should have the highest regard for the MPs (Members of Parliament). If I don’t, I won’t be able to run the House.”

She was speaking at a felicitation ceremony for her, organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce, Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata.

“Everywhere I travel, I find that people around the world admire us for two things: the way we handled our economy during the global meltdown and the way we run our democracy,” said the Lok Sabha Speaker.

She pointed out that close on the heels of India’s independence in 1947, a number of countries in Asia, Africa and South America adopted democratic governments too.

“Most of them, especially our neighbour, were not able to sustain democracies,” Kumar said, referring to Pakistan.

She said the only way to end the ongoing impasse was through dialogue and continued efforts to resolve disputes.

“We have had all-party meetings and they have had no outcome. But in a democracy we keep on trying,” she said.

On the JPC demand, though she denied to take a side, she said she was open to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s idea of holding a special session of  Parliament to discuss the 2G case if the Opposition agreed.

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