Calling for discipline not autocratic: Modi (Lead)

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New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday launched a veiled attack on the opposition for disrupting Parliament proceedings and dubbing presiding officers who tried to enforce discipline as "autocrats". Modi praised Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu for ensuring "discipline" in the House.

"Naidu is a disciplinarian, but the situation in the country is such that it has become easy to call discipline undemocratic. If someone even tries to be a disciplinarian, he has to face the music. He is called an autocrat and they open the dictionary…," said Modi.

Modi said the disruptions in the Rajya Sabha enabled Naidu to display his administrative expertise.

The Prime Minister was speaking after unveiling "Moving On... Moving Forward: A Year In Office" -- a book marking the completion of Naidu's one year as the Vice President and the Rajya Sabha Chairman.

The book details Naidu's mission of engagement on key issues with various stakeholders across the country and it's alignment with the mission of a new India in the making.

The event witnessed former Prime Ministers H.D. Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh sharing the dais with Modi, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

Praising the former BJP President's administrative expertise, Modi said, "Naidu himself follows discipline which he preaches. Discipline is in his nature.

"If a House functions properly, then nobody pays attention to who is presiding. But when it does not function as per the norms, everybody focuses on the Chairperson; what that person's qualities are and how that person maintains discipline in the House.

"This year, people got the opportunity to witness how Naidu presides over the House. Had the House functioned properly this wouldn't have been possible," said Modi making a veiled attack on the opposition protests over various issues in Parliament.

Naidu's tenure as the Rajya Sabha Chairman has witnessed continuous disruptions especially by the Opposition over a host of issues including Rafale fighter jet deal and lynching incidents.

Modi then went on to praise Naidu for his "diligence" to carry out the work that has been assigned to him whether as as a union minister or a BJP politician.

"Which ever duty he had, he performed with utmost diligence and adapted into that role with ease. He always provides visionary leadership whenever he gets a responsibility. He gets the best experts to ensure justice is done to the work assigned."

The Prime Minister also lauded Naidu for always being focused on the plight of farmers and the development of agriculture.

"Atalji wanted to give Venkaiah Naiduji a ministry. Venkaiahji said, 'I want to be the minister for rural development'. He is a farmer at heart. He is dedicated towards the welfare of farmers and agriculture."

Speaking on the occasion, Naidu also expressed his disappointment over the working of Parliament.

"I'm a little unhappy that Parliament is not functioning as it should. On all other counts, things are moving, World Bank, ADB, World Economic Forum, whatever ratings they are giving is heartening. All Indians should be proud of whatever is happening on economic front," he said.

The Rajya Sabha Chairman sought cooperation from the Opposition to run the House smoothly.

Speaking on the occasion, Manmohan Singh, too heaped praises on Naidu for bringing political and administrative experience to the office of the Vice President and opined that "the best is yet to come".