Prime Minister's Office

English rendering of PM's address in Rajya Sabha during farewell of four members

Posted On: 09 FEB 2021 1:09PM by PIB Delhi

Four of our companions, who are the glory and vibrancy of the House and have been engaged in public service through the House, are moving towards newer assignments due to the completion of their tenure.

 Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad ji, Shri Shamsher Singh ji, Shri Mir Mohammad Fayaz ji, and Shri Nadir Ahmed ji; First of all I would like to thank you and express my gratitude to all four of you for enriching the House and the country with your experiences and knowledge and for your contributions towards solving the problems of your region. 

Very few might have taken notice of both my companions Mir Mohammad Ji and Nazir Ahmad ji in the House, but not a single session went without listening and understanding the different topics shared by them in my chamber. They also used to share the nuances related to Kashmir. Whenever we used to sit and talk, they would place the different dimensions and aspects in front of me; it was very energizing for me.  So, I also express my heartfelt gratitude to both of our companions for having personally engaged with me, and for the information that I received.  And I am sure that their commitment and their capability will work for both the country and particularly Jammu and Kashmir.  I am sure it will be beneficial for the unity, happiness, peace and prosperity of the country.

Coming to one of our companions Shamsher Singh ji, I have lost the count of the number of years since I started working with him because I have been into the work related to my organization.  I used to work in this field. I also got the opportunity to work in Jammu and Kashmir for many years, as a fellow worker, sometimes traveling on a scooter.  Shamsher Singh ji was among those who went to the jail during emergency at a very young age.  And Shamsher ji's attendance percentage in this House is 96%. This in itself depicts the seriousness with which he had put in his efforts to fulfill the responsibility given to him by the people. He has given his 100 per cent.  He is soft-spoken and simple. I believe that this tenure is the best phase in the lives of the four honourable members who are retiring from Jammu and Kashmir because the history has taken a new turn and they have become a witness to the same.  This is a major event in their lives.

 Ghulam Nabi ji... I am concerned with the fact that whoever takes over this post after Ghulam Nabi ji, he will face a lot of trouble in becoming a match to him because Ghulam Nabi ji used to care not only about his party but equally about the country and the House.  This is not a small thing; it is something very important. Otherwise, usually people want to dominate as the Leader of Opposition.  But he as well as Sharad Pawar ji are such leaders who have always given priority to the House and the country. Ghulam Nabi ji has done a commendable job!

 I still remember that day when I had called a meeting of floor leaders during the Corona period; on the same day I had received a call from Ghulam Nabi ji. "Modiji, all this is fine, but please do one thing, call a meeting of all party leaders", he said. I really liked and appreciated the fact that he had suggested me to sit and discuss with the party leaders, all the party Presidents and I held that meeting. I did it on the suggestion of Ghulam Nabi ji… and let me say this….  The root cause of such communication is the fact that he has had the experience of both the sides, I.e. the ruling party and also the opposition. The 28 years of tenure is a huge thing in itself.

 It was a long time ago, probably during Atalji's tenure, I don't remember exactly.  I had come here for some work in the House.  I was not in politics then, that is, not in electoral politics. I used to work for the organization.  So, I and Ghulam Nabi ji were gossiping in the same lobby.  And as the journalists have a habit of keeping an eye on everyone, they thought how could these two be talking in a friendly way? As we were talking and laughing, the reporters surrounded us as soon as we got out.  Ghulam Nabi Ji had given a fantastic reply.  That answer is going to be very useful for us.  He had said, brother, you read about our fights in newspapers, you see us fighting in TV or in public meetings, but in reality we have a family like bonding under this roof.  We have a strong bonding, sharing happiness and sorrow.  This spirit is so crucial in itself.

Probably a very few people know this hobby of Ghulam Nabi ji and if you ever sit with him, he will tell you about it.  If we live in government bungalows, our focus remains on the walls of the bungalow or the sofa-sets but Ghulam Nabi ji has grown a garden in that bungalow that reminds us of the valleys of Kashmir.  And he is so proud of it, he gives time to it and keeps adding new things and every time during a competition, his bungalow ranks number 1.  That is, he has maintained his official place with so much love. He has tendered it with all his heart.

 When you were the Chief Minister, I too was the Chief Minister of a state.  We have had a very close proximity in that period. There would be hardly any such instance where the bridge of contact wasn't there. Tourists from Gujarat form a huge share of the total tourists going to Jammu and Kashmir. Once, the terrorists had attacked those tourists.  Probably eight people were killed. Immediately I got a call from Ghulam Nabi ji and that phone call was not just for conveying information.  His tears were unstoppable over the phone.  Pranab Mukherjee was the Defense Minister at that time.  I had called him, I said, "Sir, is it possible to get the force's airplane to bring back the dead bodies;" it was late at night.  Mr. Mukherjee said, "Don't worry, I will make all the arrangements."  But at night, Ghulam Nabi ji called me again, he was at the airport.  That night, he called me from the airport and he was so worried just like a family member….

The position or power keeps coming to life, but how to handle it… It was a very emotional moment for me.  The next day I got a call asking if everyone had reached.  Therefore, as a friend, I respect Ghulam Nabi ji, all his experiences and events. I am convinced that his warmth, his humility, his desire to do something for this country will never let him sit in peace at one place.  And I am sure that whatever responsibility he will be handling, he will definitely add value and make his contribution, and the country will also benefit from him; I firmly believe that.  I once again thank him for his services.  And personally I will also urge him not to feel that he no longer belongs to this House.  My doors are always open for you, for all the four honourable members of the House.  Your thoughts, your suggestions too are welcome because your experiences are very important and useful for the country. So I will continue to expect the same. And I will not let you retire.  Once again, best wishes!

 Thank you.

 

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

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DS/AKJ/IG/AK



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