Speaker Ramesh Kumar
BENGALURU: On Day-1 as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Ramesh Kumar was at his best. His witty, yet incisive remarks, enlivened the mood in the House even as Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and Opposition leader B S Yeddyurappa launched no holds-barred attack on each other. For Ramesh Kumar, a six-term MLA, becoming Speaker is like home coming as he had worked as Speaker from 1994 to 1999 when Janata Dal was in power. On Friday, elected representatives cutting across party lines recollected how he conducted the House during his earlier stint as Speaker. “Legislative assembly is like a reflection of all problems in society and members must be motivated to represent problems of people,” Ramesh Kumar told The New Indian Express on Friday. Excerpts:
In coalition government, what are the challenges for a Speaker?
Coalition is matter of governance and it is between them and the opposition parties. For me, it is only running the House by taking everyone into confidence. My main thrust is on quality and content of the debate in the House.
Is there a decline in quality of debate in the House?
There is sufficient deterioration in the political system in the whole country. The quality of debate has to improve, though I cannot comment now without seeing it. I have to inspire members to recollect the past. I am always optimistic about good content in this House and duty lies in our training. We have to encourage them and give them more opportunity. We have to advice them and correct them to see that the House become more lively, purposeful and meaningful. It is like a mirror, a reflection of all problems in society. You must motivate members to represent problems of people and not their problems.
In last five years, the House functioned just around 45 days a year?
It depends upon the business that gets generated. Also, 65 to 75 days is a reasonably good time in a year. It is not that we earmark 100 days a year and slog without any business. We should have sufficient business for 75 days. We have done more or less like that. It all depends on how members participate.
Your advice to members?
Take up your issues on priority and impress your electorate. Be loyal to your people, be disciplined and punctual to the House. Don’t think by getting elected you become a leader. You become only a representative for a period. Those who could not get elected are no longer the representatives. A leader is one who is a leader for all times and a representative is there only for a specific period. We are all only representatives and that clarity has to be there.
Do you think House proceedings should be telecast live?
People watching the proceedings helps us in a way. In fact, we must make it live and people tend to behave more responsibly. Yes,I intend to make it live all the time, but it is a policy decision that has to be taken at all India level. I will take it up at an appropriate forum.