"Second House, Not Secondary": PM Quotes AB Vajpayee On Rajya Sabha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Rajya Sabha today as it completed 250 sessions.

New Delhi:

Rajya Sabha may be the second house, but it is never the secondary house, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today in his tribute to the upper house of parliament as it completed 250 sessions today. The upper house is the soul of the country's federal structure, and provides an opportunity to get away from the electoral politics to contribute to the country and its development, he said, opening a special discussion on the occasion.

Much of this, he said, was due to the unique mix of people who sit in the upper house -- "scientists, people from the field of arts and sports and more... who may not have been elected democratically".

"Everyone thought Triple Talaq will get stuck in the Rajya Sabha but it is maturity of this house that passed this significant bill and made it to a law. The same happened with the law on Section 370 and the landmark Goods and Services Tax," he said.  

Quoting former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PM Modi said Mr Vajpayee, during the 200th session of the Rajya Sabha in 2003, had said, "No one should make the mistake of treating our second House (Rajya Sabha) as the secondary house. It should remain being the supporting house for India's development".

It is the Rajya Sabha, he said, where the states get direct representation - which helps maintain the country's federal structure, he said.

The Central and state governments shouldn't compete but work in tandem to take the nation forward. "The development of states and the nation aren't two separate things and are directly linked to each other. This house teaches and inspires this emotion best," he said.

The Rajya Sabha, he said, is about checks and balances. "This is absolutely essential ... here is also a difference between checking and clogging," he said.

The upper house had its first session in May 1952. Over the years, it passed nearly 4000 bills. Lately, it has lately become key to passage of bills, given the  lack of the government's numerical strength.

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