Mumbai, March 17, 2017: President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said it would not be wrong to credit India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with establishing parliamentary system of governance in India.
Speaking at India Today Conclave here, Mukherjee said it was a “tremendous risk” to take any step in the circumstances prevailing then, but Nehru took the plunge and as a result India is a vibrant democracy today.
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“Nehru in his long innings as Prime Minister of India had profound influence over my generation. If someone says that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is the architect of parliamentary system of governance in India, he won’t be wrong,” Mukherjee said.
“It is not that he did not make mistakes but the fact remains that he took tremendous risk of introducing parliamentary politics in a country that is so vast and diverse, had zero economic development and low literacy levels at that time. But he took the risk,” he added.
Mukherjee noted that as a sign of vibrant Indian democracy, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, 66 per cent of “800 million people of India voted to elect 543 members to the Lok Sabha”.
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Mukherjee said that the Indian democratic process was still unfolding.
“It was Nehru who gave a new shape to India in 1956 by deciding to have states based on language. Today we have 29 states and the formation of Indian states has not closed. India’s democratic process in unfolding,” he said.
Mukherjee also noted former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s decisive action in the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.
“Indira Gandhi had a strong influence over me. The high point of her political career was her effective and almost decisive role in liberation of Bangladesh. She was an effective Prime Minister who could utilise her power to further the principles she believed in,” he said. (IANS)