In the midst of a turbulent logjam in Parliament, Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice-President of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar, has made a fervent appeal to citizens to launch a Jan Andolan (people's movement) that ensures all representatives of the people engage earnestly in the task obligated by the Constitution.
Speaking at the centenary celebration of Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University in Nagpur, Dhankhar expressed deep concern about the potential threat faced by the institutions of democracy, cautioning against their virtual ravaging. He warned that failure to protect these spaces could lead to their occupation by forces that are neither representative nor accountable to the nation's people.
"Temples of Democracy have virtually been ravaged. If not protected as platforms of discussion, debate, and dialogue, then these spaces will be occupied by other forces. And those forces will not be representative. They will not be accountable. They will not have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution," he said. His statement comes at a time when there logjam in the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament.
Temples of Democracy have virtually been ravaged!— Vice President of India (@VPIndia) August 4, 2023
If not protected as platforms of discussion, debate, dialogue, then these spaces will be occupied by other forces.
And those forces will not be representative. They will not be accountable. They will not have taken an oath to… pic.twitter.com/fwL6e5fcml
Drawing inspiration from the Constituent Assembly, the model that laid the foundation of independent India, Dhankhar urged for the emulation of their spirit of coordination, cooperation, and collaboration in addressing divisive and contentious issues. He stressed that dissent should not be converted into mere protests, forsaking dialogue and discussion for disruption and disturbance.
Jagdeep Dhankhar highlighted India's prestige, reputation, and standing on the global stage, emphasising that no individual should be allowed to taint and demean constitutional institutions unjustifiably. "Can we allow anyone - untenably, irrationally, without basis- to taint, tarnish, demean and insult our Constitutional institutions? The time has come when we must do everything as individuals to neutralise these anti-India narratives," he said.
In a particularly pertinent message to students, the Vice-President stressed the importance of cultivating an open mind towards diverging viewpoints. He urged young minds to be slow in judgment and quick to understand, encouraging empathy and appreciation for the perspectives of others.