Cover Story Jammu & Kashmir The Lead

Modi gets emotional as RS bids adieu to Azad

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi choked up and struggled to speak in parliament today during a farewell to Congress veteran and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajya Sabha.

PM Modi heaped praise on Ghulam Nabi Azad, sitting across him in the house, and teared up as he recalled an episode when they were both Chief Ministers – of Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir.

“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. That night…Ghulam Nabi Ji called me…,” PM Modi, fighting tears, paused for water.

“He sounded concerned like people are concerned about their own family members. That is the kind of feeling he showed.” As the Prime Minister stopped to gather himself, there was loud desk-thumping.

“Power comes and goes. But how to handle it…,” PM Modi stopped and saluted him, letting that gesture speak.

“That was a very emotional moment for me.”

The Prime Minister said he considered Mr Azad true friend. He also remarked that he was a tough act to follow. “The person who will replace Ghulam Nabi ji as Leader of Opposition will have difficulty matching his work because he was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House,” he said.

“I have known Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad for years. We were Chief Ministers together. We had interacted even before I became Chief Minister, when Azad Sahab was very much in active politics. He has a passion not many know about – gardening,” he shared.

The PM’s moving tribute comes a day after he praised Azad for his words on Jammu and Kashmir and local polls conducted recently.

 

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