Members of Parliament across party lines accorded farewell to outgoing Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu in the Upper House on Monday. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien recalled Naidu’s contribution and their fond memories with him.
Kharge thanked Naidu for handling the responsibility of the Vice Chairman under difficulty and pressure. “We may be people of 2 different ideologies. I may also have some complaints with you but this isn’t the time to speak about them. You played your role even under such difficulty and pressure – I thank you for it,” the Opposition leader said.
Lauding Naidu, the Leader of the Opposition hoped that the government will complete the incomplete he is leaving behind. “You had advocated for a national policy for Upper Houses in all major states. You also spoke about consensus on Women Reservation Bill and other issues. I believe government will complete the incomplete you’re leaving behind,” he said.
— SansadTV (@sansad_tv) August 8, 2022
Naidu’s term as vice president comes to an end on August 10. He will be succeeded by Jagdeep Dhankar, who won the Vice Presidential elections last week defeating Congress veteran and opposition candidate Margaret Alva.
O’Brien, on the other hand, congratulated Naidu for productivity numbers in Rajya Sabha and the number of bills passed.
“You’re there. But there’s another side to this argument. As you leave today Sir, and you have another 20 years in public life, there is another school of thought that Parliament has become a deep dark chamber. The bills need to be scrutinised more. These are issues I am sure you will address. Autobiography or no autobiography, you will speak your mind,” he said.
“Of all the wonderful things we remember are the food that you served us, and equal credit should go to Ms Naidu. It was absolutely wonderful. Since I eat mostly non-vegetarian food, it was even better,” he added.
— SansadTV (@sansad_tv) August 8, 2022
In his farewell speech, Naidu said that the Upper House has a “greater” responsibility and appeals to MPs to maintain decency, dignity and decorum so that the image and respect of the House is maintained. The entire world is watching India; India is on the move, he said.
He thanked Members of Parliament for love and affection towards him. “We are not enemies, we are rivals. We must work hard to outshine others in competition but not run down others. My wish is that Parliament functions well… I am thankful and moved by your love and affection,” he said.
Naidu also remembered the day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi told him that he was being selected to become the Vice President of India. “The day PM told me that I was being selected to become the Vice President of India, I was in tears, I didn’t ask for it. Party had given the mandate, I obliged and resigned from the party. Tears were because I had to leave the party,” he said.
“I did my best to maintain… the House. I tried to accommodate & give opportunities to all sides – South, North, East, West, North-East. Each one of you has been given time,” Naidu said.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his farewell speech for Naidu, said the outgoing VP’s “one-liners” are “wit-liners” and “win-liners”.
“Your one-liners are wit-liners. They are win-liners too. It means nothing more needs to be said after those lines. Your every word is heard, preferred and revered and never countered,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the nation will continue to receive benefits of Naidu’s experience.
“You have said several times ‘I am retired from politics but not tired from public life’. So, your responsibility to lead this House might be ending now but the nation as well as workers of public life – like me – will continue to receive benefits of your experiences,” he said.