alva: Contest to restore dignity of parliament: Margret Alva

New Delhi: The decision to have a contest for the vice president election was to record disagreement with the policies of the Narendra Modi government, opposition candidate Margret Alva has said on the eve of voting.

“I know the numbers are not in my favor, but my contest is about challenging and presenting a point of view. My fight is to restore the dignity, decorum and status of Parliament as the central point of our democracy,” Alva told ET. Alva said that the Modi government did not send bills to parliamentary committees, which was an important forum to discuss and deliberate on legislation.

“During UPA government, 60% to 70% bills used to go to parliamentary committees. In the current government, less than 27% bills were referred to parliamentary committees. In the last session, the government passed 45 bills and the total discussion time for they were not even an hour,” she said.

Alva also talked about the ‘misuse’ of the provision of money bills and said that introducing most bills as money bills was to diminish the importance of the Rajya Sabha. “To overcome the control by the Rajya Sabha, which was supposed to be a second chamber for review, anything which is inconvenient to the government becomes a money bill because the Rajya Sabha cannot stop or amend a money bill,” she said.

Alva said that only a strong and independent chairman can protect and defend the right of the Rajya Sabha, can speak on behalf of the members and ensure that the dignity of the Rajya Sabha is restored. She also envisaged that her contesting the election would be the starting point for Opposition unity for 2024 as she is the candidate of 21 political parties and more were likely to offer support.

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She said that she was the sole representative of southern states in the election. “There are six southern states, including Goa. They make for 20% of the population and contribute 30% of India’s taxes and 25% of the GDP,” she said. You have a president from the north, a PM from the north and a Speaker from the north, and now you want a chairman from the north?” She said that Venkaiah Naidu could have continued as the vice-president. Voting for VP election will take place on Saturday and results will be announced on the same day.

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