Handful throttles silent majority: Pranab

New Delhi: Leader of the Lok Sabha and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today lamented that a handful of members throttle "silent majority" and called for a mechanism that will eliminate disruptions.

"On many occasions, this House has been tumultuous, tempers ran high, but disruptions was the least this House has adopted. Because when we disrupt the House then it serves no purpose. We cannot hear. We cannot speak. Only a handful of members completely throttle the desire of a silent majority to speak," Mukherjee said, initiating the debate to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first sitting of Parliament.

Mukherjee said Parliament has acted as a "shock absorber" on several occasions and whenever there have been disputes, dissensions, the Lok Sabha has played a role in defusing it. "Whenever there were tensions, disputes and dissensions, it has come to this House and under this great dome we have been able to defuse that on most occasions," he said.

Mukherjee noted there has been confrontation in the federal structure between various organs of the government and judiciary, executive and legislature. "But over the years we have evolved a system and able to find an amicable solution," he said.

Endorsing the views of Mukherjee, BJP leader L K Advani said tolerance and understanding for each others` views and debates in Parliament can solve issues.

Highlighting the success of Indian parliamentary system, he said views of the opposition are given due understanding and respect. "Parliament is a major example of that," he said adding that he endorsed the views of Mukherjee that differences can be resolved through debates.

Referring to famous thinker Charvak, Advani said his line of `eat, drink and make merry` was understood and respected despite the fact that he challenged the traditional philosophy that you pay for your sins in the next birth.

The BJP leader said people sceptical of a country of poor and illiterate people becoming a successful democracy have been proved wrong. "Western intellectuals were sceptical on how people who cannot sign and put thumb impression on papers will be able to run democracy…today we can say it with pride that we have proved them wrong," he said.

He said in the past 60 years, we have turned India into a successful democracy.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi said members should live up to the ideals of the founding fathers of the Constitution. The 60th anniversary of the first sitting of Parliament was an occasion for reflection on its achievements, she said. She said the "journey of Parliament had not always been smooth or without challenges" and the anniversary "was also an occasion for reflection."

The UPA chairperson emphasised that independence of Parliament must be protected at all costs and urged members to live up to the ideals of the makers of Constitution. "Our conduct must be according to the standards of founding fathers," Gandhi said.