Farewells in the Rajya Sabha are usually solemn, at times emotional. On Thursday, it was also about comradeship as MPs across parties rooted for the return of a member freshly retired.
One by one, opposition and ruling coalition MPs asked CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury to bring P Rajeeve back to the Rajya Sabha. The Akali Dal?s Naresh Gujral went to the extent of asking the government to nominate him to the Rajya Sabha, besides expressing the hope Rajeeve would be chosen for the Outstanding Parliamentarian award for 2014-15.
Rajeeve retired on April 21, along with the CPI?s M P Achuthan. Since the Rajya Sabha was prorogued, the House could not bid them farewell. On Thursday, they were in the visitors? gallery, Rajeeve with his wife and two children, as member after member praised him for his frequent interventions and the way he used his knowledge of the rules and procedures.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley spoke first. He said both Rajeeve and Achuthan were ?extremely serious about their work?, ?extremely industrious in digging out new procedures and ways of putting forth their points of view?.
?As far as we in the treasury benches are concerned, for more than one good reason we will miss Rajeeve,? Jaitley said. ?His departure makes our job easier because whoever was in government, he used to keep them on their toes,? Jaitley said. ??We have all learnt from him. And now that Sitaram Yechury is in a position of greater authority, I think he will give full consideration to our desire to have Rajeeve back sooner or later.?
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad recalled how he asked Rajeeve to exchange his tablet with him. ?I would give him a fresh laptop, so that I wouldn?t have to go through various books to find out which rule fits where,? he said.
Mayawati, Sharad Yadav, Ram Gopal Yadav and others repeated the request to Yechury. ?What does P in P Rajeeve stand for?? said Derek O?Brien, quizmaster-turned-MP. ?I have that answer. P in P Rajeeve stands for Parliamentary Rajeeve.?
Yechury said Rajeeve?s retirement is a personal loss to him and a loss to his party. ?Rajeeve has been given much greater responsibilities of the party in Kerala? I am very, very grateful and honoured by the comments made by various leaders and the suggestions to bring him back? We will definitely reconsider it very seriously.?
He said it has become ?fashionable nowadays to say that communists are basically anarchists, slogan shouters? Here, as a communist, his case is showing how you can contribute not only to the progress of the country but also to the parliamentary democracy in the House.?