The Rajya Sabha today bid farewell to five of its members from Tamil Nadu, who are retiring today after completion of their terms, with V Maitreyan turning emotional during his farewell speech.
The five retiring members are V Maitreyan, D Raja, KR Arjunan, R Lakshmanan and T Rathinavel, all from the AIADMK, except for Raja who is a member of the CPI.
The retiring members said they will miss the House and thanked their colleagues and the chairman, while other members said the House will remember them for their contributions in different ways and hoped they return to the House again.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said the retiring members have contributed significantly to deliberations of this House and the Parliamentary Committees and in the process of nurturing and understanding our Parliamentary democracy.
He said the retiring members have also helped in enhancing the dignity and prestige of this august House.
"I place on record my heartfelt appreciation for the valuable contribution and services rendered by them them to democracy and to the society at large.
"The House will certainly miss their various, sometimes aggressive, progressive presence and their unwavering commitment to issues pertaining to the state of Tamil Nadu and also to national issues of importance. I wish retiring members good health, happiness and many more years of service to the nation," Chairman Mr Naidu said. Leader of the House Thaawarchand Gehlot said the five retiring members are completing their term in the House but will continue to serve the people.
"I wish them well in their life. They dedicated their life for the service of the nation and have worked towards nation's development," he said.
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad recalled the contributions of each of them from the southern part of the country.
"I wish all my colleagues from the southern part of the country well," he said, hoping they return to this House again.
He lauded Maitreyan for choosing politics to serve the nation despite being a specialist in Oncology. He said he could have easily earned a lot of money, but chose to serve people through politics by quitting his practice.
"He has chosen this medium to do service to people and I appreciate his decision to join politics," he said.
Mr Azad also appreciated Raja for his contribution in the House, especially through his speeches on every legislation and issue.
He said while as Leader of Opposition he hardly gets an opportunity to speak, Raja is the only leader who gives 4-5 speeches on everything in a single day.
"I did not realise his capacity of giving so many speeches from the Zero Hour to the adjournment of the House," Azad said.
Chairman Naidu quipped, "because he is Raja and from today he will be going to Praja."
Mr Azad added that he wanted to congratulate Raja as he had become "Maharaja" in between, after he became the national general secretary of the CPI now.
The Chairman also lauded Raja, saying he would be missing one smiling face sitting in front of him from tomorrow. He said from tomorrow onwards there will be no restriction of time on Raja, as he is now the "boss of his party".
In his teary farewell speech, Mr Maitreyan remembered his leader J Jayalalithaa, who had reposed faith in him and sent him to this House for three consecutive terms. He also wished member Arun Jaitley good health so that he continues to guide many in the future.
"My loyalty towards her will always be there," he said, adding that he also wishes a speedy recovery to Jaitley who considered him like a brother.
Mr Maitreyan also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his guidance and noted that he has acted as a bridge between his leader and the prime minister and thanked him for his personal affection. He said he may be ending his 14.5 years term in Parliament, but will start a new inning in state politics.
"No doubt, this is my sunset time in Parliament, but it will be a sunrise time for me in the state," he said, adding that it is his turn to return to state politics now.
The AIADMK leader lamented that this House did not make obituary reference in May 2009 when a large number of his Tamil brethren lost their lives in Sri Lankan violence and called upon the House not to give an obituary for him, when the time comes.
"That will remain a thorn in me," he noted. Raja said this may be his last speech in this House as he expressed his gratitude to members for their love and affection. Raja completed his second term in the House.
"I wish our Parliament should remain as one visualised by Dr Ambedkar and the framers of our Constitution," he said, while recalling the great contribution of communist leaders and stalwarts in Parliament.
"I may be retiring from this House for the time being, I will be working for the country and the people and I am not retiring," he said.
He said this country is very diverse and people should treat all like human being and respect everyone equally and not discriminate on basis of caste, creed or economic status.
"In a diverse country like ours, we should not be divided and I am pained to point out why people should be socially exploited, discriminated against. We should treat them and those politically marginalised people like human beings.
"This Parliament should rise to treat its people as human beings and their constitutional, democratic rights should be ensured. We can strive for justice to the socially, politically and economically deprived people," he said.
Mr Raja said while "one person, one vote" is there, the objective should be to ensure "one person, one value".
Talking about some unfinished agenda, he said, the bill to provide reservation to women in Parliament should be passed and noted that India should play a greater role in the international arena.
"We can shape the world if India plays an important role...India can play a political role if it stands on its basic values," he noted.
KR Arjunan (AIADMK) thanked the chairman and members for their support and expressed happiness that he was able to utilise all his MPLAD funds for the welfare of the people.
R Lakshmanan (AIADMK) said, "I came here with an empty hand and going with an empty hand. But I gained rich experience from here. Last six years went like six months and taught lessons for next 60 years."
While expressing gratitude to all party leaders, he said among members in the Upper House, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was one such great member who taught how to be humble and still be rock-solid in the most difficult situation.
AIADMK leader in the Rajya Sabha A Navaneethakrishnan said the retirement of five members is a "great loss to the state of Tamil Nadu" as these five were not only an "asset" to this House but also to the state.
Applauding AIADMK members'' persistent efforts in raising state issues in the House, leaders cutting across party lines said the distinction between the AIADMK and DMK got blurred when there was a common issue related to Tamil Nadu.
"Be it the AIADMK or DMK, the way they raised the Tamil Nadu issue is an example for other states how to pursue your states'' interest," SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav said.
The DMK leader in the Upper House, Tiruchi Siva said, "We have cross swords but we have been together on common issue of Tamil Nadu." The party leaders also recalled D Raja's contribution, saying he spoke on every topic in the House and had good relations with all members across the parties. They also recalled Maitreyan's singing skills and how versatile he is in Hindi and Marathi language.
SP leader Yadav said, "Whenever I wanted to hear a song, I would hum and Maitreyan would complete the entire song in Central Hall. We will all miss you."
Sanjay Raut of Shiv Sena said Maitreyan also sings Marathi songs and knows all popular Marathi hits.
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