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Raising Lok Sabha strength not a solution: Somnath

Sunday 7 August 2005, by VENKITESWARAN*K.

"Political parties should be willing to nominate more women members"

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Somnath Chatterjee

KOCHI: The Lok Sabha Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, said on Saturday that he was against the move to increase the strength of the Lok Sabha though he was for more representation for women in Parliament.

Speaking to reporters at the government guesthouse here, Mr. Chatterjee said increasing the numerical strength of the House would not be a solution. Political parties should be willing to nominate more women members to deliver justice. There would be problems of logistics if the present strength of 545 was increased and the MPS would have to be seated in the Central Hall. Increasing the seats of the Lok Sabha would give rise to demands for more seats in the Rajya Sabha and State Assemblies.

Mr. Chatterjee, who is here to deliver the V. K. Krishna Menon Memorial Lecture, said the demand for one-third reservation for women was legitimate. He pointed out that local panchayats now followed the reservation. Panchayats had opened up to "unsophisticated women" and people in the rural areas now felt a sense of participation.

The Speaker said the fall in the standard of debates in the House was a reflection of the general deterioration in public life where criminalisation and trading of charges had become common.


He regretted the disruption of debating hours and said the business of conducting proceedings could only be subject to rules and regulations.

He pointed out that he had admitted an adjournment motion on infiltration of foreigners and a detailed discussion was held. He termed the recent developments in the House involving a leader as the "saddest day for Indian democracy in Parliament". Stating that there was no alternative to parliamentary democracy, he said more young people, who were articulate and committed to the people, should come to the House.

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