On the occasion of Golden Jubilee Celebration of Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh addressed the house. Full script of Chief Minister address

Smt. Meira Kumar, Hon’ble Speaker Lok Sabha, Sh. Brij Behari Lal Butail, Hon’ble Speaker, Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, Dr. Charanjit Singh Atwal Hon’ble Speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Shri Jagat Singh Negi Hon’ble Deputy Speaker, Sh. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Hon’ble Leader of Opposition, My colleagues in the Council of Ministers, Members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Hon’ble Members of Vidhan Sabha; distinguished guests and officers both of the State and Centre Government.

I am extremely honored to have this privilege to address you in this prestigious moment when this premier Legislative institution is celebrating its 50th year of existence. This is a precious moment for us because this function underlines this Assembly’s successful glorious fifty years. During these five decades of its functioning, the State’s Legislative Assembly has established sound precedents and traditions and has reinforced democracy as a whole. It is pertinent to mention here that the Hon’ble Members of this Legislative Assembly have always maintained high dignity and conventions of this House for which we all should be proud.

MPs and MLAs are legislators and are not part of the executive. Their job as elected representatives of the people is to hold the government, whether it is the state government or the Central Government, accountable.

As Legislators, we have the very great responsibility of representing our citizens. Now a days the aspirations of the people have become very high, hence the duties of the Legislators, in the present scenario, have not only been multiplied but have also become complex as well. Primarily, the Legislators are supposed to be constituency based and they are required to take every care of the interest of their constituents but while doing this, they should not ignore their duties towards the nation and the State to which they belong. Legislatures are the forum where the desires, needs, emotions, expectations etc. of the masses are being put forth by their elected representatives. Legislators are the constitutional link between the Government and the people, and it is through this that the aspirations and needs of the people are communicated. If this point of contact between people and the State was not functioning freely and successfully, then our system would have failed. We should effectively use Legislature as a forum for raising the grievances of the people, so as to ensure them a decent and dignified existence.

Presently there is a need to create ideal conditions for all our citizens, regardless of their caste, creed and religion. This could only be achieved if vast segments of the masses, who have been kept out of the main stream of our socio-political life, enjoy justice and equality and other democratic rights, for which my Government is committed. Our State has achieved many a milestones in the field of strengthening the economy of the Pradesh and this could have been possible due to positive and healthy suggestions made by the Hon’ble Members on the floor of the House while deliberating on issues of public interest.

This has always remained our effort and concern that each and every area of the Pradesh and strata of the society should be developed fully and in a balanced manner. We are satisfied that we have come very close to this target by pursuing practical and positive approach. We are proud that in many fields our State is a role model.

Today, we are celebrating the golden jubilee of this House. Fifty years are surely a mile stone in the history of an institution, it gives us an opportunity to reflect from where we started, where presently we are what our goals to be are achieve. Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly has a long history, which began from the year 1925 when this Council Chamber was constructed. Right since the British era many issues were debated in this House to solve the problems faced by the people of the Country. When Central Legislative Assembly used to meet here many important resolutions of far reaching implications were adopted. Among these an important resolution to empower Indian women by conferring voting rights to them was moved by Pt. Moti Lal Nehru which was unanimously adopted in this Hall. Hence, it was a historic step in the direction of removing gender disparity in the exercise of this political right. This resolution was moved a year after the British women got their right to vote in the House of Commons. Similarly Vithal Bhai Patel was elected as the first Indian President of the Central Council.

I have been a part of this House for the last three decades and many memories as Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition and as a Member of this Legislative Assembly are still fresh in my mind. I have never seen that standard of debate in the Legislative Assembly or has any unruly conduct for a Member or group of a Members let the dignity of this House lowered. I also want to inform the distinguished gathering that the time loss due to disruption in this House is almost nil and the House conducts its business smoothly during the seasons. Moreover, there is hardly any loss of precious time of the question hour in our State as is the case elsewhere in the Country.

This trend of disruption of the question hour is growing day by day which is not a healthy sign for our parliamentary democracy. Most of the time, due to frequent disruptions, of the question hour in the Parliament/State Legislatures is wasted instead of eliciting information on important public issues from the Government Question hour, the first and perhaps the most informative hour of the day when Parliament/State Legislatures are in session has been the worst victim of disruptions by members of Parliaments and State Legislatures. This rising tendency of disruptions of the proceedings of the House needs to be curbed and this can be achieved with the collective efforts of the Legislators.

I am confident that our endeavour to collectively address the challenges today faced by the Legislators will prove to be rewarding. I am sure that this August Assembly will greatly benefit from the valuable suggestions given by Smt. Meira Kumar, Hon’ble Speaker Lok Sabha in her address. With these words I once again heartily welcome this distinguished gathering.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.