Leaders from across parties bid an emotional farewell to senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on his retirement from the Rajya Sabha.
Mentioning Pakistan in his retirement speech, Azad, 71, said he was among the fortunate people who never went to Pakistan and he felt proud to be an Indian Muslim. “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,” Azad said.
Attributing his success to Indira Gandhi, Azad said the former prime minister and Sanjay Gandhi gave him opportunities to work under the Congress. He also noted the opportunities given to him under the leadership of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, current Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi.
He also lauded former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his ability to seek solutions by including everyone. “I learned from Vajpayee how to solve problems by giving something to both the opposition and the ruling party,” Azad said. “It was very easy to manage parliament under his leadership due to this.”
Azad highlighted that people will keep their trust in the lawmakers till the time they do work for them and pass laws. “If we only keep on fighting amongst ourselves, we will lose the trust of people,” he said.
Speaking on the need to rule without any biases, Azad said that he would be ashamed to work with any political worker who “works on the basis of religion or community or even party”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Congress leader had “has set very high standards as MP and Opposition leader”. “Posts come, high office comes, power comes and how to handle these, one must learn from Ghulam Nabi Azad Ji. I would consider him a true friend,” PM Modi said.
“The person who will replace Ghulam Nabi ji will have difficulty matching his work because he was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House,” he added.
PM Modi got emotional recalling Azad’s help and efforts to bring back people from Gujarat stuck in Kashmir during a terror attack in 2007. “I will never forget Shri Azad’s efforts and Shri Pranab Mukherjee’s efforts when people from Gujarat were stuck in Kashmir due to a terror attack. Ghulam Nabi Ji was constantly following up, he sounded as concerned as if those stuck were his own family members,” the PM said.