Prime Minister Narendra Modi became emotional in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday during a farewell to Leader of the Opposition and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is retiring on February 15 after his term ends.
Modi heaped praise on the Congress veteran, who sat across him in the Rajya Sabha, and shed a tear as he shared an episode when they had both been Chief Ministers of Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir, respectively.
Modi said he has known Ghulam Nabi Azad for years when they both were Chief Ministers together. “We had interacted even before I became Chief Minister, when Azad was very much in active politics,” he said. The PM also shared Azad’s passion for gardening with the House. He further added in a teary farewell said that he would not let the Congress veteran retire and will continue taking his advice and that his doors were always open for him.
Modi said the person who will replace Azad, as Leader of the Opposition, will find it difficult to match the Kashmiri leader’s stature because he was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House.
While referring to the terror attack on pilgrims from Gujarat in Jammu and KAshmir, Modi said he will never forget Azad’s efforts and Pranab Mukherjee’s efforts when people from Gujarat were stuck in Kashmir due to a terror attack. Ghulam Nabi ji was constantly following up and was as concerned as if those stuck were his own family members, the PM said.
Also Read: Shahnawaz Hussain joins Nitish Kumar cabinet
Azad thanked 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, Azad said the majority community needs to move forward, and added that he never went to Pakistan and thinks that he was fortunate. He said that he felt proud to be a Hindustani Muslim after seeing the plight of those who went to Pakistan. In his farewell speech, Azad paid tributes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said that he learnt to function in the House from the late PM.