Amid standoff, PM bids Azad a tearful farewell: Door always open for you

AMID THE Authorities-Opposition standoff in Parliament over the farm legal guidelines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday bid a tearful farewell to Chief of Opposition within the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad whose time period ends subsequent week.

Modi broke down a number of occasions throughout his 13-minute speech, as he recalled his shut affiliation with Azad. “At a private degree, I might request him to not take into account that he’s not within the Home. My door is always open for all of you… I’ll always count on, and worth, your views,” Modi mentioned. “I cannot let you retire,” he instructed the Congress veteran.

Azad additionally turned emotional throughout his response. He mentioned the BJP has always been a part of “nationalist politics”, and he felt “proud” that he was a “Hindustani Muslim”. Whereas he didn’t point out the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, he sought to attract consideration to the plight of Kashmiri Pandits. Addressing Modi and Dwelling Minister Amit Shah, Azad mentioned: “Each of you are sitting right here. Construct the houses which had been uprooted, we’ll all should strive for this”.

Earlier, talking on the farewell for Azad and three different members from J&Okay — Nazir Ahmad Laway, Shamsher Singh Manhas and Mir Mohammad Fayaz – Modi mentioned: “I fear that after Azad, whosoever will take over from him must fill very massive boots, as a result of he cared not solely about his occasion however in regards to the nation, in addition to the Home.”

He famous that Azad had known as him to ask for an all-party assembly on the Covid-19 state of affairs final 12 months. “I favored that, and in addition did it. This sort of connection is there as a result of he has the expertise of being in energy in addition to within the Opposition. Twenty-eight years expertise in all, it’s a massive factor,” he mentioned.

Recalling their lengthy affiliation, Modi mentioned that as chief ministers of J&Okay and Gujarat, that they had stored in contact with one another. He recalled a terror assault in J&Okay, when some Gujarati pilgrims had been focused. “Azad was the primary particular person to name me. Throughout that decision he couldn’t cease crying,” Modi mentioned in a choked voice, tears rolling down his cheeks.

“Energy comes and goes however (solely a few know) how you can digest it… due to this fact, like a buddy, I respect him on the idea of the issues he has completed over these years,” Modi mentioned, whereas wiping his tears and saluting Azad.

In his response, Azad mentioned that in his youth, each “August 14 and 15 had been celebrated” in J&Okay. “After I was in SP Faculty, the largest school in Kashmir, I bear in mind August 14 was celebrated, and August 15 was additionally celebrated. August 14, you know why it’s celebrated. The bulk was theirs… Of those who celebrated August 14. There was a very small minority, inside dozens, which included me and my buddies… On August 15, we used to remain across the employees and the principal. After that, for one week we wouldn’t go to school, as a result of we’d be overwhelmed up. So, from there, we now have come to the thought that we’re all a part of, and I’m completely happy that that thought is now with many individuals,” he mentioned.

“I need to congratulate the opposite events there, whether or not it’s the Nationwide Convention, the PDP… the BJP was always a part of nationalist pressure of politics,” he mentioned.

“I’m among the many lucky individuals who has by no means been to Pakistan. However once I learn in regards to the state of affairs in Pakistan, I really feel delight, I really feel honour that we’re Hindustani Muslims. In truth, I’ll say that if internationally, there must be any Muslim who’s proud, he must be India’s Muslim. Within the final 30-35 years, we now have seen from Afghanistan to Iraq, how Muslim nations are ending themselves by preventing. There isn’t a Hindutva there, there are not any Christians there who’re preventing. They’re preventing amongst themselves… However we will say with delight that amongst our Muslims, God keen, these unhealthy issues ought to by no means be there. However right here, the bulk neighborhood additionally has to take two steps ahead,” Azad mentioned.

Thanking Modi for attending the session, Azad turned emotional when recounting the phobia assault that the PM had talked about. He recalled 5 events when he broke down: in the course of the deaths of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sanjay Gandhi, the 1999 Odisha supercyclone, and the phobia assault.

“In 2005, I turned Chief Minister in November. In Might (2006), when the durbar opened in Kashmir, I used to be welcomed with the martyrdom of my brothers and sisters from Gujarat… I talked to the Prime Minister, Defence Minister; an plane got here to take them… After I reached the airport, (there have been) kids… some had misplaced their father, some their mom, they had been crying,” he recalled.

In the meantime, Ramdas Athawale, RPI chief and Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment who additionally spoke on the event, triggered the Home to erupt in laughter when he instructed Azad: “You must come to this Home once more. If the Congress doesn’t deliver you right here, then we’re able to deliver you… Even I used to be there, I got here right here…”

“Ghulam Nabi Azad acted as a bridge each time there was a impasse within the Home… I ponder who will fill the hole… I hope he turns into the chief minister of J&Okay after its statehood is restored,” mentioned Ram Gopal Yadav (SP).

“It was my fortune that I received to take a seat subsequent to him within the Home… I’ve learnt a lot from his steerage, decency, conduct…,” Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh mentioned.

Satish Chandra Misra (BSP) mentioned if the Congress wished to bid farewell to Azad, folks would bid farewell to the occasion, not him. “It isn’t straightforward to lose Ghulam Nabi Azad,” he mentioned.

Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) mentioned he wouldn’t bid farewell, however would wait for Azad to return to the Home. Sukhendu Sekhar Ray (TMC) additionally hoped that the Congress would deliver Azad again to the Home.

Azad’s time period ends on February 15, after being Chief of Opposition in Rajya Sabha since June 8, 2014.

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