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PM, RS takes a touching farewell as the term of opposition leader Azad ends | India News


NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi became extremely emotional as he bid farewell to opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, saying the leader of Congress had the interests of the nation and the House in mind, in addition to his own match.
The prime minister’s exaggerated praise, wondering how a successor will fit into his shoes, and a salute by way of appreciation to the former CM of Jammu and Kashmir, saw Azad fold his hands in appreciation and respond in an equally emotional way. The gracious exchange, a complete rarity in polarized politics, kept the House spellbound as the two leaders spoke their minds.
While shedding tears as he recalled his close association with the veteran deputy, Modi said he would not allow Azad to retire (nirvit nahin hone doonga), noting that his political legacy and human qualities will be difficult to match and replace. The comments came as Modi spoke during the farewell of four J&K MPs.
Modi said that as chief ministers of Gujarat and J&K, he and Azad used to talk to each other regularly. Breaking several times, the prime minister recalled that after terrorists killed some Gujarati tourists by pressing a grenade on his bus in J&K, Azad was the first to call him about the horrific attack and kept in contact until the bodies were transported in plane to Gujarat.
Azad’s eyes also filled with tears in the middle of his speech as he recalled the horror on the faces during his visit to the Srinagar airport. “Oh God, what have you done? How do I deal with these children and widows? They had come here for tourism and I will send them back with the bodies of their parents and loved ones, ”Azad recalled saying at the time as the children clung to his legs in pain. He stressed that he had not even cried out loud after the death of his parents as he did when three of his mentors, Indira Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, suffered unnatural deaths.
Members who cross party lines praised Azad, while bidding farewell to Shamsher Singh Manhas (BJP) and Nazir Ahmad Laway and Mir Mohammad Fayaz of the PDP, whose terms in the Upper House end this week.
Recalling the terrorist incident, the prime minister said of Azad: “I couldn’t stop crying … he spoke like a member of the family. Power comes and goes, but only a few know how to handle it … “Therefore, as a friend, I respect him (Azad) for the things he has done over the years,” Modi said, wiping away tears.
Azad referred to the memory of the May 2006 terrorist incident against Gujarati tourists, a common tactic of terrorists to register their presence when a durbar change occurred, to pray for an end to the J&K militancy.
“Thousands of our security forces, paramilitary and police personnel, as well as many civilians, have been killed in crossfire. Thousands of our daughters and mothers have been widowed … the fathers of some may have been militants, but what is the fault of the children? If the militancy ends, young people and widows will find jobs and can lead normal lives. For this, both the government and the opposition must work together on a solution to restore normalcy in Kashmir, ”he said, prompting members of all parties, including Prime Minister and Interior Minister Amit Shah, who were in the House, hit their desks.
Azad also emphasized thanking the leaders of Congress, as well as other parties with whom he has worked closely, while making a special mention of former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee. To emphasize Vajpayee’s cooperative and friendly attitude, he recalled the time when he was minister of parliamentary affairs from 1991 to 1996 and Vajpayee the leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha. “At that time we were running a minority government and you can understand how difficult it could be with Vajpayee ji as LoP. But let me tell you, those were the easiest five years to run the House, thanks to the leadership of Atal ji. I learned from him how a solution to any stalemate can be found by accommodating the views of both the government and the opposition. ”
Emphasizing the importance of the discussion in Parliament, Azad said that if the government and opposition banks continue to fight, legislative issues will suffer. “I used to convince my colleagues to evolve a combination: protest one day but other days, argue and debate,” he said, a possible reference to the current leadership in Congress not always following advice.
Modi also noted that Azad had called him to request an all-party meeting during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. “I did. This kind of connection is there because he has the experience of being in the government and in the opposition for 28 years (in Rajya Sabha),” Modi said.
Previously, the President of Rajya Sabha, M Venkaiah Naidu, described Azad as “a voice of sanity in the public life of the nation over the past decades,” making valuable contributions while managing various portfolios in government and opposition. “Azad behaved in an exemplary manner and has been a role model for first-time members. He speaks quietly but conveys his point of view effectively, which should be the way. During the last three years as President of this august House, I have benefited greatly from your input and wise advice in solving various difficult situations, ”Naidu said.

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