The term of Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad in Rajya Sabha will come to an end on February 15. Several MPs, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave a farewell speech on 9 February in his honour.
After a teary-eyed tribute by PM Narendra Modi to the Congress veteran, Ghulam Nabi Azad thanked the MPs as he recounted his political journey from Jammu and Kashmir to New Delhi.
As he rose to speak on his last day in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad noted that the majority community needs to move forward, and added, “I never went to Pakistan and I think I am fortunate. I am among those fortunate people who never went to Pakistan. When I read about circumstances in Pakistan, I feel proud to be a Hindustani Muslim.”
In his farewell speech, Ghulam Nabi Azad also paid tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said that it was the former PM from whom he learnt to run the House.
“I learned a lot from Atal ji…how to break the deadlock and how to run the House,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said in Rajya Sabha.
Ghulam Nabi Azad also thanked PM Modi in his retirement speech in Rajya Sabha. Azad said the PM never took his words against him in the Upper House personally and separated the personal from politics.
“There were times when we had verbal fights. But you [PM Modi] never took my words personally,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said. The Congress veteran went on to note that the country is run with collaborations, not fights.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi broke down in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday as he reminisced about his close association with Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Showering praises on Azad, the Prime Minister said: “I am worried. The person who will replace Ghulam Nabi ji (as Leader of Opposition) will have difficulty matching his work because he was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House”.
PM also said that when he met floor leaders during the early days of the Covid pandemic, Azad called and suggested that the PM should meet leaders of all parties. “I held that meeting on his suggestion. He has had experience of both ruling and the Opposition side.”
Asking him to share his suggestions with him, the PM said: “Do not feel like you are no longer in the House. My doors are always open for you. I will need your suggestions. I will not let you retire,” he said.