New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, on Sunday, stressed the need for state funding of elections "at a time when only one party has access to 90 per cent resources."
Dr Singh, who was speaking at the birth centenary memorial meeting of veteran CPI leader Indrajit Gupta here, said, "One of the widely cited scholarly works of Indrajit Gupta ji was his report on the funding of the election."
"I was privileged to be a member of the committee headed by him. He argued for the role of state funding in the election. Today, when only one party has access to 90 per cent of the election fund, such ideas need to be discussed and deliberated," said Dr Singh.
The former Prime Minister praised Gupta for valuing the role of opposition and not being obsessed with "trappings of power."
"A remarkable quality of Indrajit Gupta ji was that he was never obsessed with the trappings of power. Even as a Cabinet Minister, he valued the role of the opposition, preferring consensus over confrontation," he said.
"A quality of an able administration is to be able to patiently listen to any idea, no matter how disparaging it may appear at the beginning. Tolerance for varied ideas defines our democracy," Singh said.
"It is the beauty of our democracy that despite being a political opponent of Indrajit Gupta, we are able to come together to celebrate his life and his work. Having spent a large part of his public life in the opposition, Indrajit Gupta ji knew that without the opposition, democracy has no soul," he added.
Lauding the late CPI leader for his simplicity, Singh said, "True to his Bolshevik Puritanism, comrade Gupta led a spartan life but harboured rich ideas and principles. There is tremendous power in simplicity and humility, which we do not realise. It might not win one or two elections but it will last for over a century and even more, just like the goodwill Indrajit Gupta ji generated."
Former Prime Minister Dr Singh also appreciated Gupta's oratory skills saying that he was able to break the complex ideas into simpler thoughts.
Terming him as an "outstanding parliamentarian," the former Prime Minister said, "Indrajit Gupta's birth centenary is an occasion for us to reflect on his immense contribution in enriching our democracy. We remember him as an outstanding parliamentarian for his plain-speaking."
"As the leader of the smaller party, he would often speak towards the end of the parliamentary debates. But every time he spoke, he always introduced a new dimension forcing the treasury benches to take note," he added.
Earlier Dr Singh read out a message from UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for the occasion.
In her message, Gandhi said the birth centenary of Indrajit Gupta is an occasion to remember with gratitude and respect one of India's most outstanding parliamentarians.
She also lauded his role as a Union Home Minister, from 1996 to 1998 for his "commitment to secularism, social justice, and equality and his unrelenting battle for the workers' rights and against the evils of casteism in every sphere of our nation's life."
"Above on, he was admired for his insightful, hard-hitting but always reasoned speeches, for he was a stickler to the rules of civility even during the most heated debates in our parliament," she said.
"Simple in his lifestyle and in close touch with ground realities, Indrajit Gupta was that rare person who was always true to be himself and to his convictions, qualities that flocked his long and distinguished career in public and national life," said Gandhi....