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Seek discipline, branded autocrat, says PM 

New Delhi, September 2

In a veiled jibe at the Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while speaking at Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu’s book launch here on Sunday,  observed that by calling for discipline, one may be branded an “autocrat” these days. 

He profusely praised Naidu for being a “disciplinarian”. Opposition MPs are believed to be unhappy with Naidu, who is also Rajya Sabha Chairman, for not allowing them to raise issues of concern.

“Venkaiahji is a disciplinarian, and the country’s situation is such that it has become easy to call discipline undemocratic. If one calls for discipline, then that person is branded an autocrat… But the discipline Venkaiahji calls for, he follows it himself,” the PM observed. Referring to Naidu’s punctuality, he said, “One has to be very alert while touring with Venkaiahji. 

He never wears a watch, does not keep a pen, does not keep money… he does not wear a watch, but he reaches for programmes on time. And if the programme is not over in time, he becomes uneasy. Discipline is his nature.” 

Also at the book launch were former PMs Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda, LS Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, RS Deputy Leader of Opposition Anand Sharma, FM Arun Jaitley  and a host of other ministers and senior officials. 

Naidu suggested reforms to improve the functioning of Parliament and state legislatures — code of conduct for legislators within and outside the House, that legislators resign before changing their party and anti-defection cases be decided in three months, quick disposal of election petitions and criminal cases against political leaders by special Benches of higher courts, a national policy to ensure Upper House in all states and cleansing the polity. 

He urged the parties to consider issues concerning women to ensure their safety by ending discrimination against them and called for women’s reservation in all spheres, including the legislature. 

Manmohan Singh said the four themes explored by Naidu during his extensive travels in the past one year could become a national agenda. “”These include untapped demographic dividends, an effective eco-system to ensure sustainable and remunerative agriculture, orienting scientific and research gains to improve quality of life, enhancing public awareness about the country’s rich cultural heritage and a harmonious worldview.” 

The 245-page book titled “Moving on…Moving forward: A year in office”, brings out Naidu’s “mission of engagement” on the four key issues with various stakeholders across the country and its alignment with the ‘New India’ mission.

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