Modi breaks down in RS as he bids adieu to Ghulam Nabi Azad

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 09, 2021

V-P Venkaiah Naidu describes Azad as a voice of sanity in public life

Prime Minister Narendra Modi teared up, choking while he bade farewell to the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday.

Azad’s term comes to an end on February 15 along with three other MPs from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) — Nazir Ahmad Laway, Shamsher Singh Manhas and Mir Mohammad Fayaz.

‘Will never forget his help’

Modi was referring to the 2007 terrorist attack on pilgrims from Gujarat to J&K when Azad was the Chief Minister.

Azad was the first to call him and he supervised the rescue and return of the victims’ families, all the while keeping Modi in the loop.

“I will never forget Azad and Pranab Mukherjee’s efforts when people from Gujarat were stuck in Kashmir  in the terror attack. That night, Ghulam Nabiji called me,” recounted the PM, choking, drinking water. “He sounded concerned like people are concerned for their family. This is the kind of feeling he showed.”

“Power comes and goes. But how to handle it,” Modi broke off again, saluting Azad who sat opposite him. Azad folded his hands, reciprocating the gesture as Modi went on to explain how he had known Azad even before he himself became the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

“I have known Ghulam Nabi Azad for years. We were chief ministers together. We had interacted even before I became a Chief Minister, when Azad sahib was very much active in politics. He has a passion not many know about — gardening,” Modi said. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu described Azad as a voice of sanity in public life over few decades when he made valuable contributions while serving both in government and in opposition. Azad has been the Leader of Opposition in the Upper House for over six years since June 8, 2014.

Naidu said Azad’s retirement is painful with the House having lost Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

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Published on February 09, 2021
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