These are the basic and salient features of the Address.

As a true disciple of the founder of DMK Party, late lamented the great Anna, I feel elated to quote his words at this moment: -

"The preamble to the Constitution clearly states that the political sovereignty rests with the people. Then legal sovereignty is divided between the Federal Union and the constituent units. Why don't you take it that our scheme is to make the States still more effective sovereign units? Why don't you take it in that light?"

13.00 hrs.

"Sovereignty does not reside entirely in one particular place. We have a federal structure. The framers of the Constitution wanted a federal structure and not a unitary structure because many political philosophers have pointed out that India is very vast. In fact, it has been described as a subcontinent - the mental health is so varied, the tradition so different, the history so varied - that there cannot be a steel-framed unitary structure. Here, we should take ourselves as the spearhead of the opposition to the unitary nature of the federal structure of this Constitution, lift it up to the highest political arena, allow it free play and make the federation become a real federation".

This is the beginning towards that goal. This is the write up towards that goal.

My friends, particularly, Shri Somnath Chatterjee and Shri Indrajit Gupta will be happy in their heart of hearts about the pronouncement of federal polity and federal harmony because no more are the days when a monolithic hegemony bulldozing the regional aspirations can have its political play. They also have to take lessons from this.

In the year 1974, the DMK Government - at that time the Chief Minister was Dr. Kalaignar Karunanidhi - passed a unanimous Resolution on the floor of the State Assembly for State autonomy. Again, it was Shri Jyoti Basu, the hon. Chief Minister of West Bengal who released the White Paper on State autonomy. That was reflected by Akali friends, that was reflected by the Telugu Desam and that was reflected by the National Conference. We have come together with a collective wisdom, a combined manifesto. Therefore, I felt very happy about this direction towards federalism.

When Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to participate in the 89th birth anniversary of Arignar Anna, he delivered a historic speech on the sands of Marina. He stated that the Dravidian Movement sprang up for the cause of democracy in this country and the foremost leader Dr. Anna gave a clarion call for social justice to uplift the socially and educationally backward classes and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Now, when I hear the same voice, the same clarion call in the banks of the Ganges and in the banks of the Yamuna, as a disciple of Anna, I feel very happy. We are very happy when the voice of Periyar and the voice of Anna reverberate not only in the South but also in the East, in the West and in the North.

I would like to offer a bird's eye view on certain salient features of this Presidential Address: more thrust to be given to agriculture and agro-based small industries, creation of employment opportunities, assurance of health care, clean and potable drinking water even to the remove hamlets and villages, thrust to female literacy and primary education, a massive `shelter for all' programme, to make India an information technology superpower, strengthening our infrastructure particularly in the power and energy sector, modernisation and restructuring of Indian textiles, the promotion of science and technology, comprehensive electoral reforms, eradication of the canker of corruption, widening the scope of the Lokpal Bill to cover the Office of the hon. Prime Minister and so on. We would get the credit - Atalji would get the credit - for implementing 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and State Legislatures. We will be the first great democracy in the whole world to implement 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and State Legislatures. Naturally, the credit will go to the Prime Minister.

I have gone through some of the amendments being moved by my esteemed friends. I would like to point out that the National Democratic Alliance's agenda is an `agenda for a proud, prosperous India'. It has been emphatically mentioned by the President in his Address that this is based on the policy document of the National Democratic Alliance.

So, it is covering so many things in almost all the areas and all the spheres. I would like to tell them that for 45 long years or four-and-a-half decades, they were holding the reins of power, but they never thought a while to implement a project like the Sethu Samudram Canal which is pending for 138 years. It is the Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee who, when addressed the mammoth gathering at the Marina Sands, said that the long pending project of Sethu Samudram Canal Project would be implemented. That has been mentioned in this Agenda also.

Sir, it is my bounden duty to salute the martyrs who have shed their blood and who have laid down their lives in Kargil and Drass Sectors. When the Pokhran tests were conducted, people were raising hue and cry from the housetops, but with foresight, hon. Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee anticipated the misadventure from our neighbour who was already possessing clandestinely nuclear arsenal and therefore, he ordered for conducting nuclear tests, thus making this country a nuclear weapon State. With the same spirit, when he undertook the trip from Amritsar to Lahore, the message of friendship and the message of peaceful coexistence was there. Then, the world realised that here is a man for peace and for friendship.

With the mask of extremists, the Regular Army of Pakistan encroached upon our territory to usurp our territory. The Government, the Armed Forces and the people of India rose to the occasion to meet the challenge. I am proud of the Tamil youths from my State, Major Saravanan, Muhilan, Natarajan, Kamaraj, Saifullah, Abdul Sattar, Palani, Jayavelu and others who have joined the regiments of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar -- fighting for the territory at the lofty peaks of Himalayas, risking their lives and braving the cannon -- fire and bullets, piercing the enemy lives -- and laid down their lives. I have to salute all the martyrs of this country, the soldiers and airmen, for their incomparable heroism and sacrifice.

Sir, we won the battlefield and won the diplomatic battlefield also. On the diplomatic front, for the first time, India had secured a marvellous victory. The greatest achievement of our victory in this arena of diplomatic offensive is that for the first time, the whole world stood by us. The United States, Russia, Britain, France, even China had washed their hands off the erstwhile friend Pakistan. The remarkable achievement in this is that no member of the Organisation of Islamic Country, not even a single Muslim country supported Pakistan. The reasons are many.

We observed commendable restraint in not crossing the line of control. There was nothing wrong, had we crossed the line of control. That had happened throughout the world. Many countries have done this. But we observed commendable restraint in not crossing the line of control. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the greatest leaders of the world was respected throughout the world as the `Jewel of Asia'. The world respected him, but in our conflict with Pakistan at that time, the world was divided and many countries were not supporting us.

Madam Gandhi in her pinnacle of glory was a most respected leader of the world, more than Margaret Thatcher. The world respected her. But in the Bangladesh war, the whole world did not support India. That was the reality. For the first time, the whole world supported us and stood by us. That is because of the commendable approach and policy of the Government. On 17th April, millions and millions of people who were watching television and hearing AIR were shocked and became sad when they heard about the fall of the Vajpayee Government. That is not the weakness of democracy, but it is the strength of democracy. Then, Atalji has become the household name in every hamlet, in every village, in every town and in every city of this country. Wherever the mosque is there, that is the Muslim countries, they have supported us and they have not supported Pakistan. Throughout the world church is there. They have also supported us.

At this juncture I will fail in my duty if I do not mention about the visit of Pope John Paul. This country is the cradle of civilization. In this country the first church was built in Kerala in the first century. The Hindu King donated the land which was referred to by the Prime Minister in his speech. When Islam came, we embraced it with all love and affection. Mosques were built. I still remember the words of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee which he uttered during the 13-day Government. In his speech he said, `We have not learnt secularism from anyone. We have learnt secularism from the first drop of our mother's milk'. Whenever the churches were attacked and whenever the minorities were attacked, he was the first person to condemn that. Pope John Paul is going to visit this country. When he visited our country during 1986, he praised our culture, religion, civilization and faith. Likewise, Swami Vivekananda when he astonished the audience in Chicago called for mutual respect of all the religions.

Sir, the Secretary to Pope John Paul and President, Pontificial Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the Vatican City has sent a message to Hindu friends. He says,

"Dear Hindu friends,

As you celebrate the religious festival of Diwali, which symbolically suggests the victory of truth over untruth, light over darkness, life over death, good over evil, peace over conflict, I wish all of you abundant divine blessings and happiness throughout the new year which you begin according to your tradition. The popular Hindu festival of Diwali offers people from different religious traditions a joyful occasion to come together in a spirit of friendship and collaboration to reflect on the common origin and destiny shared by all, and to engage in constructive dialogue in order to address the many religious and social questions now facing the world".

So, this is the message from the Vatican city. Voices are raised here and there about the Pope's visit. I would make an appeal to all these people to whichever quarter they belong to, to resist from this and to stop making statements because the whole world is looking at us.

We have got the golden opportunity. Yes, the Goddess of nature has bestowed upon Atal ji the golden opportunity to steer this country at the dawn of the third millennium, at the threshold of the 21st century, on the eve of the Golden Jubilee of republic of this country. We have got the potential to lead the world. Years back, there were two blocks, the Capitalist Block and the Communist Block, one headed by the Soviet Union and the other by the US. Gone are those days. I hope, as a citizen of this dear land, Asia should lead the third millennium. If Asia has to lead the 21st century, naturally India has to lead the 21st century. That is there. That period, with all its glitter and shine, is coming. Therefore, whatever utterances may be made here, Hindu temples have been built in New York, Washington, Paris and London. They are respected. For the past 10 years, at least for the decade, the churches all over the world have been preparing to celebrate the entry into the third millennium as also the birth of Jesus Christ.

P.C. THOMAS (MUVATTUPUZHA): Is it not painful that an effigy of Pope was burnt in the Capital.

SHRI VIJAY KUMAR MALHOTRA : No, it was not burnt.

ADV. P.C. THOMAS : Yes, it was burnt. It was reported in the newspapers. I totally agree with you but is it not painful?... (Interruptions)

SHRI VAIKO : Be careful in your words. It is not true.... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN : He is not yielding. If he yields then only you can speak.

MAJ. GEN. (RTD.) BHUWAN CHANDRA KHANDURI (AVSM) (GARHWAL): Sir, either that statement should not be allowed to go on record or he should be allowed to contradict it.... (Interruptions) If the statement is not true, let him... (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please resume your seat, Shri Thomas.

SHRI VAIKO : Nothing like that has happened.... (Interruptions) Let us all welcome Pope John Paul. He is coming here to conclude the Assembly of Bishops. He is coming here for a purpose. They have chosen India after much consideration and deep contemplation. He is coming here to conclude the Assembly of Bishops and promulgate a document called Apostolic Exhortation. When Jesus shed his blood at the cross, that was the message of forbearance and forgiveness and love and non-violence.

Sir, this is not an occasion for discord. This is not an occasion to spread hatred or acrimony. This is an occasion which we all should welcome. The whole world is looking at us. I hope, my good friends who have occupied the Treasury Benches for the last 45 years, have learnt some lesson at least and I hope that they will prove themselves as an effective Opposition making constructive criticism and will prove that they can survive without power. They were so hasty, their thrust, hunger for power was so high, that they destablised the Government.

That is their style. They have destabilised not only the Central Government, but they have destabilised State Governments 95 times. If they are deliberately determined to sit permanently in the opposition, I have no objection..(Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN : Shri Vaiko, please address the Chair.

SHRI VAIKO : This is the trouble with them. They have to wait patiently...(Interruptions)

Even the other day they have said that they are for the resurrection of Panchmarhi Declaration. They have told that they will try to bulldoze the regional parties. That is the monolithic hegemony of one party rule. But the country is not for that. The result is that they have got an all time low representation in the Lok Sabha....(Interruptions)

I do not say you will be written off. You are a force. You have got a tradition. You have got an history. You have got a bad run. You may have got more percentage of votes. If you want to calculate the percentage of votes, how many seats you have contested? For the first time this time you had collaboration with some of the major parties in some of the States. Are you taking into account their percentage of votes also?...(Interruptions)

If I want, I can go. I will not take you. They have not learnt any lessons. Therefore, the voters, with all their wisdom, have put them in the right place because they have destabilised the then Government. This Government will serve its full term. Therefore, I would appeal to my friends to give constructive criticism and also cooperation.

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE (BOLPUR): I have one criticism of the Prime Minister. He should have taken you in the Cabinet!

SHRI VAIKO : He wanted me. But I want to be in the Parliament, on the floor of the House. I am proud of him. The country is proud of him. The people are proud of him. The whole nation is proud of him.

Therefore, once again I would appeal to my friends to be patient for five years. At least try to come back if things are all right. But I do not think that opportunity will be given by Atalji to you. Therefore, I would request all the hon. Members of this House to support the motion moved by Shri Vijay Kumar Malhotra.

I commend the motion and conclude.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Motion moved:

"That an Address be presented to the President in the following terms :-

"That the members of the Lok Sabha assembled in this Session are deeply grateful to the President for the Address which he has been pleased to deliver to both Houses of Parliament assembled together on October 25, 1999."

MR. CHAIRMAN: Hon. Members present in the House whose amendments to the Motion of Thanks have been circulated may, if they desire, move their amendments by sending slips to the Table within fifteen minutes indicating the serial numbers of the amendments they would like to move. Those amendments only will be treated as moved.

A list showing the serial numbers of amendments treated as moved will be put up on the Notice Board shortly thereafter. In case any Member finds any discrepancy in the list, he may kindly bring it to the notice of the officer at the Table immediately.

SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL (CHANDIGARH): I have to make a submission. Three of my amendments have not been printed in the list. They do not find a mention here. I would like to know as to what is the authority that decides about this.

SHRI TRILOCHAN KANUNGO (JAGATSINGHPUR): We have not received any dak yesterday or today.

SHRI PAWAN KUMAR BANSAL (CHANDIGARH): I do not find any rules regarding the authority rejecting of amendments.

MR. CHAIRMAN: I will look into it.

SHRI G.M. BANATWALLA (PONNANI): One of my amendments has not been circulated and I do not know how to move it. The amendment is with respect to the fact that there is no condemnation of the Russian attack on Chechnia.

Sir, I request that I may be allowed to move this particular amendment also that there is no condemnation of the Russian attack on Chechnya in the Address given by the President. It is a very inhuman attack on the civilians in Chechnya and the House must take note of it. Unfortunately, the condemnation does not appear in the President's Address. I have given a notice of the amendment but I find that copies of the amendment have not been circulated.

MR. CHAIRMAN : Your amendment was disallowed and you have already been intimated.

SHRI G.M. BANATWALLA : I was just now told. I request you to allow me. It was a very inhuman attack on civilians and hospitals.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Your amendment refers to discourtesy to friendly foreign Government and hence it is disallowed.

SHRI G.M. BANATWALLA : There is no question of discourtesy. Civilians have been attacked and hospitals have been attacked. Are we to be a silent spectator of violation of all international agreements and human rights?

MR. CHAIRMAN: It is disallowed on the basis of rules.

SHRI G.M. BANATWALLA : I may be allowed to move it.

MR. CHAIRMAN: Not now. You may do it on some other occasion. Shri Shivraj Patil may speak now.

SHRI SHIVRAJ V. PATIL (LATUR): Sir, with your permission, I would like to extend congratulations to the hon. Speaker who was elected to this august post by this House unanimously for the second time. With your permission, I would also like to extend congratulations to the Prime Minister and other Ministers who have formed this Government. With your permission, I would also like to congratulate all the Members who have been elected to this House. I am doing this because I am taking the floor for the first time in the Thirteenth Lok Sabha.


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