Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday told State legislators that democratic dissent should not eclipse democratic decency under any circumstances.Addressing the inaugural session of a two-day orientation programme for legislators, Mr. Patnaik said that democratic dissent is “a right, however, while exercising this right, legislators must not forget democratic decency”.“The roots of our successful democracy lie in our people and their unflinching faith in democratic values,” added Mr. Patnaik.“Every elected representative must understand this: whatever position you may be in, the people are supreme. Elected representatives should keep the common people at the centre of all their initiatives,” said the CM. Stating that the primary function of the legislature is to make laws, Mr. Patnaik said an appetite for information and education on legislative procedures, and understanding of socio-economic issues and policies is beneficial.“All our Acts and policies are essentially directed towards the greater public good. Legislators should endeavour to bring the Acts and policies to the public domain so that the people can be partners in the process of change,” he added.‘Lead by example’Stating that the legislators must lead by example. Mr. Patnaik said: “Simplicity should be at the core of our public behaviour. Leading a simple life can help us stay connected to the people.”Odisha Assembly Speaker Surjya Narayan Patro presided over the inaugural session of the programme., which was organised by the Odisha Legislative Assembly in collaboration with the Lok Sabha Secretariat. Deputy Speaker Rajanikanta Singh, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha, Leader of Opposition Pradipta Kumar Nayak and Government Chief Whip Pramila Mallick also attended the event.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said he would take up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the issue of persuading Pakistan to grant Indian devotees open access to more historic gurdwaras across the border.Expressing his gratitude to Mr. Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for helping realise the Sikh community’s dream of visiting the Kartarpur Gurdwara, Capt. Amarinder hoped this would be followed by more such gurdwaras in Pakistan, such as Panja Sahib and Nankana Sahib, being opened to Indian devotees.He said he would personally take up the matter with Mr. Modi and urge him to raise the issue with Mr. Khan.Capt. Amarinder acknowledged the support given by the Union government in making the historic celebrations a success and expressed happiness at the participation of people from different political parties, as a tribute to the first Sikh guru.President present President Ram Nath Kovind, who attended the celebrations, said Guru Nanak Dev tried to free people from caste and creed and ritualism by teaching them lessons of equality, brotherhood, kindness and morality. “True followers of Guru Nanak Dev Ji work for the welfare of all, live in harmony and do their job with diligence and honesty,” he said. Mr. Kovind paid obeisance at Gurdwara Ber Sahib and then went to the stage set up by the Punjab government for the celebrations. Later, he went to the other stage (pandal) set up by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.Two stagesHowever, the setting up of separate stages for the celebrations didn’t go down well with the pilgrims, many of whom felt that the Guru’s message of ‘oneness’ was unheeded by political parties.Forty-five-year old Baljinder Singh from Patiala, who had come to the holy town for the first time, said that he was peeved at the two stages. “They [SGPC and the State government] should have joined hands and set up only one stage. Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s idea and message of ‘oneness’ has been disregarded by them,” he said.“I’ll pay obeisance at the gurdwara and return. I’ll not go any of these stages,” he added.A group of youngsters from Jalalabad in Fazilka expressed similar sentiments. “How will they [political parties] preach the message of the Guru, when they seem to be involved in their advertising through there stages and events?” said 32-year-old Daljeet Singh.Seventy-five-year-old Darshan Singh from Amritsar said: “Such division is not good for humanity. The message of unification and integration should have been sent, instead an opposite message has been conveyed.”Guru Nanak Dev had spent 14 years of his early life in Sultanpur Lodhi.