FELICITATION TO VICE-PRESIDENT ELECT SHRI.VENKAIAH NAIDU IN BENGALURU
Bengaluru. The last couple of weeks have seen the full play of the strength and majesty of parliamentary democratic polity. Two humble sons of our country have been chosen to the two highest constitutional posts in our country i.e President and Vice-President. This is something that these two commoners never even aspired for or nor even expected. I bow my head in great respect to the character and the strength of our system and with all humility accept the honour and responsibility bestowed on me.
Soon after I was announced as Vice-Presidential candidate, my first thought and decision was that I should first visit Karnataka soon after my election and so am I here with you all. I owe a lot to the people of Karnataka for choosing me as one of their representatives in the Council of States for 18 long years in a row. I am here today on the soil of Karnataka to sincerely thank the people of the State for taking me very warmly in their lap for such a long time.
Hailing from Andhra Pradesh, I have been elected to State Legislature twice, then a Member of Rajya Sabha for 3 consecutive terms and currently from Rajasthan and in between, the President of the ruling BJP.
This in my view is an eloquent testimony to the principle that “India belongs to all of its citizens”. Irrespective of your place of birth, you have as much responsibility and stake and a window to further the cause of the nation.
Representing Karnataka in Rajya Sabha, I have tried my best to further the interests of the State and its people at every opportunity like a ‘mannina maga’ (son of the soil) in the true spirit of a responsible citizen of India.
I firmly believed that the progress of States is very crucial for the forward march of India. India marches on the wheels of its States. If Karnataka scales new heights, it will lift the country on the ladder. Let us always be guided by this principle.
Though India is officially described as the Union of States in the Constitution, the same Constitution has prescribed an elaborate federal mechanism prescribing the working relations between the Union and the States and for carrying out the processes of socio-economic development. This mix of unitary and federal features have been preferred by the founding fathers of our Constitution.
Despite some occasional aberrations in the working of this script, this unique unitary-federal mechanism has certainly matured over the years with frictions between the centre and the states steadily declining. This is happening with steady consolidation and manifestation of the spirit of cooperative federalism. With the rise of Young and Aspirational India and the elected political executive becoming more and more sensitive to the compelling need of empowering citizens to fulfill their aspirations, an element of completion among the States is now more and more evident. This is resulting in ‘competitive and cooperative federalism’.
Rajya Sabha is the federal chamber of our Parliament with a specific mandate of protecting the interests of the States. I deem it as an honour that I have got the opportunity of presiding such a Council of States as its Chairperson. I feel happy that I am the second person after late Shri B.D.Jatti to have got such an opportunity, with deep connections with the soil of Karnataka.
As a firm believer in equal partnership of the States and the Union in the progress of our country, I have started the process of visiting States for knowing their problems in the implementation of schemes when I was the Rural Development Minister. I continued this over the last three years as a Union Minister.
What is INDIA? It is not a mere physical and geographical entity. It is a huge mass of human kind with a rich legacy of morals, values, diverse cultures and vast human and natural resources bound by a common heritage and united by a shared destiny. It belongs to all of its citizens irrespective of their place of birth, caste, creed, religion and status. In effect, in my view, India stands for:
All citizens equally.
Accordingly, this spirit of India should inspire us towards improving our own lives along with that of lives of fellow citizens. This is because individual advancement is just not possible independent of collective advancement in an increasingly globalizing economic order.
We have an elaborate written Constitution that laid down the road map for upholding the cherished values of justice, liberty and equality and for carrying out the processes of socio-economic development. We also have a well designed institutional mechanism, again prescribed in the Constitution with clear mandate of domains for Legislatures, Judiciary and Executive.
Success of our nation as a collective entity is dependent on strict adherence to the Constitutional principles and effective and harmonious working of various institutions.
We are maturing as a nation with the passage of time and so are various institutions. Ours is the soil that always stood by the principle of inclusivity and not exclusivity. Over the years, we have even amended our Constitution over a hundred times to further the cause of socio-economic advancement of our people.
We need to change with the passage of time expanding our mental horizons towards a harmonious effort for rapid development of our country for bettering the lives of the people. We need to enable strengthening of supporting institutions.
Learned former Chief Justice of India and the doyen of our Judiciary Shri M.N.Venkatachaliah garu headed a National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution set up in February, 2000. This Committee after an extensive review of the working our Constitution and the functioning of institutions on ground came out with a report that enables such a harmonious endeavor that is necessary for rapid development of our country.
This Committee referred to the need for a healthy opposition, vigilant public opinion, good statesmanship and respect for the principles of federalism and healthy conventions of parliamentary democracy. The Committee also urged the Legislature and Judiciary to work within the specific spheres determined by the Constitution and should not interfere with each other’s jurisdiction.
The spirit of these recommendations is that a harmonious and united effort is the need of the hour for nation building. I am hopeful that we, as a nation would march ahead on such a path.
In my new innings, I am supposed to speak less and make others speak in an orderly manner. So, it would not be appropriate for me to speak at length.
As I said in the beginning, I am here today, to express my deep sense of gratitude to the people of Karnataka for their love and affection showered on me all these years. I will ever remain indebted to them as this is something I can never pay back in full measure.