India Foundation instituted the India Foundation instituted the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Memorial Lecture in 2018 to celebrate the legacy of the Former Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Shri Vajpayee personified the spirit of nationalism, integrity in public life and approach towards politics.
The First Lecture was delivered by Former Finance Minister of India Shri Arun Jaitley in Delhi on the theme of “Indian Democracy: Maturity and Challenges” at the 4th India Ideas Conclave in 2018.
The Second Atal Bihari Vajpayee Memorial Lecture was delivered by the Former President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee on December 16, 2019 in New Delhi, India. The theme of the second lecture was “Has Parliamentary Democracy Succeeded in India and the Challenges Ahead”.
Former President Mukherjee spoke of his admiration for Atal Ji for his innate qualities of being an orator, moderator and consensus seeker. Speaking of the evolution of parliamentary system in India, Shri Mukherjee spoke of three phases of British influence phase of post independence India; multi-party coalition stage of 1990s and the third phase where the multi-party system slowly started changing to a bipolar system where in two major coalition blocks came to dominate Indian polity after the elections of 1998. He, however, went on to commended the fine balance between electoral majority and majoritarianism that the parliamentary system in India has achieved.
He concluded by highlighting the shortcomings of the system and expressing hope that that Parliament of India will live up to the task of ensuring that Indian democracy provides for an enabling environment which helps every section of the society to fully participate in the process of governance.
The Address was attended by over 300 eminent citizens from all walks of life. The audience comprised of Ministers, Member of Parliaments, Bureaucrats, Political Leaders, Diplomats, Media Personalities, Corporate Leaders, Academics and Scholars.