As the curtains came down on the 16th Lok Sabha on the last day of the Budget session, the members recalled their experiences, with some of them becoming emotional.
They also praised Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, the second woman Speaker of the Lok Sabha after Meira Kumar, for her efforts to run the House smoothly while the Prime Minister Narendra Modi enumerated a number of achievements during his tenure and also took jibes at his political opponents.
Here is what the leaders of different parties said:
* Narendra Modi: This Lok Sabha would be remembered for the highest number of women MPs, out of which 44 are first-timers. For the first time, maximum number of women ministers are in the Cabinet and we have two women ministers in the Cabinet Committee on Security.
India’s self-confidence is at an all-time high. I consider this to be a very positive sign because such confidence gives an impetus to development. India is now the 6th largest economy and close to becoming 5-trillion dollar economy. Today world takes us seriously because it recognizes “full majority government”. And the credit goes to the mandate given by the citizens in 2014.
This Lok Sabha has passed stringent laws against corruption and black money besides the GST. The GST passing in the House revealed the spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship.
* Congress leader K.C. Venugopal: Even though the government was not ready to approve us as a recognised opposition party, we cooperated in a larger way for a healthy legislative process. Sometimes, we had to take some aggressive steps also. On such occasions, you advised us and you used to criticize also in stronger words sometimes. For a healthy democracy, we feel that our job is to express the sentiments and anger of the people in this august House. That is the role of the Opposition. During the previous Lok Sabha also, the party that sat on the opposition benches did the same.
Now, our future lies in the hands of the people. We are going to face the electorate. We think that the people would take their own decision based on what this government has done during the last five years. We have very good expectations from the people.
* Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh Yadav: I wish all the members of this Lok Sabha win again and return to this House. The Prime Minister has worked for everyone. He tried to take everyone along with him. I hope he returns as Prime Minister again.
* Trinamool Congress’ Sudip Bandopadhyay: The 16th Lok Sabha was full of excitement, tensions, anxiety, agitations, few good quality speeches, few unwanted and unexpected economic decisions and many other activities. All this brought life to the House. I wholeheartedly feel that I do not know what will happen after elections, whether they will come to this side or we will go to that side. We are hoping that we will go to that side. So, naturally, we will miss you at that time.
* BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab: During the 16th Lok Sabha, the country witnessed, after a lapse of 30 years, a government which had a mandate of full majority. In 2014, the country gave a full majority, but at the same time, we should also understand the country also gave a fractured opposition. During these days in the 16th Lok Sabha, many changes have been made and a new history has been created. But there are certain instances, which we should forget as bad dreams.
It is necessary today that we do away with blame game and look forward to 2022 when this nation will be celebrating its 75th anniversary of Independence. This is the year, as I had said earlier also, when we will be celebrating many historic moments; and I would hope that when this country will be going to exercise its mandate, a new era will emerge and that morning will definitely be for a better tomorrow, for a better nation-building.
* NCP’s Supriya Sule: During the last five years that we have spent together, we have had our good moments and some sober moments. I think, through you, we got an opportunity to learn so much.
* Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel: It has been an enriching experience to see how this great institution works, how every voice is heard and how every ideology across the country gets space like a flower in the beautiful bouquet. Although the five years of the 16th Lok Sabha have been full of disruptions over a range of issues affecting different states across the country, several historic Bills have also been passed.
* Revolutionary Socialist Party’s N.K. Premchandran: I would like to make one suggestion: all of us talk about the ‘discussion’, ‘debate’ and ‘decision’ but at the same time, there should be ‘dissent’ also. The dissent of the opposition should be respected and honoured. Then only the beauty of the democracy will be there. Unfortunately, the dissent in the form of amendment or cut motions is not respected and it is not taken care of. That precedent and convention needs to be changed.