Transition of power India’s salient feature: LS Speaker on US Capitol siege

Parliament of India. Image - YinYang, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Two days after the infamous US Capitol siege, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said on Friday that smooth transition of power is a salient feature of Indian democracy.

Noting that 17 general elections and over 300 Assembly polls have been conducted in India since its Independence, Birla said the basic concept of the Indian Constitution is to keep people at the centre of governance, which deepened the faith of the citizens in democracy.

Birla’s remarks came after hundreds of supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building, deemed as the citadel of American democracy, on Wednesday afternoon, forcing the proceedings to count electoral college votes cast in the November 3, 2020 presidential election, to halt.

Lawmakers had to be evacuated from the House and the Senate, as the Capitol was vandalised. The Capitol building houses the US Congress and is the seat of the legislative branch of the American government.

At least four people have been killed in the incident, 52 have been arrested while 14 police officers sustained injuries in the violence.

Birla also said the country cannot be empowered without strengthening the Panchayati Raj institutions and making them more accountable to the people.

Speaking at an outreach programme here to introduce and familiarise panchayat representatives with the functioning of the Parliament and democratic principles, Birla said gram panchayats are the main force behind the strength of Indian democracy.

“Smooth transition of power after these 17 General elections and over 300 Assembly polls is a speciality of our democracy. We have made efforts to strengthen democracy from panchayat to Parliament,” the Lok Sabha Speaker said.

“Panchayati Raj institutions like gram sabha have been our democratic traditions. Our concept of democracy is strong,” he added.

The programme was also attended by Uttarakhand Vidhan Sabha Speaker Prem Chand Agarwal, Panchayati Raj MoS Arvind Pandey, and Lok Sabha Secretary General Utpal Kumar Singh, among others. The programme was organised by the Parliamentary Research and Training Institute for Democracies (PRIDE) in coordination with the Uttarakhand government.

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