PM Modi leads tributes as Rajya Sabha bids farewell to Naidu

Hindustan Times, August 07, 2022

Rajya Sabha’s productivity increased by 70% and a record 177 bills were passed or discussed under Venkaiah Naidu’s tenure, PM Narendra Modi said in his farewell speech.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday hailed outgoing Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu for his deft handling of House proceedings which, he claimed, saw an increase in not just productivity but also attendance of members under the latter’s tenure.

Modi also complimented Naidu on his witty one-liners and said he had raised the standards of functioning of the House with his discipline and experience.

Naidu completes his five-year term on August 10. His successor, Jagdeep Dhankhar, will take oath of office on August 11.

Rajya Sabha’s productivity increased by 70% and a record 177 bills were passed or discussed under Naidu’s tenure, Modi said in his farewell speech.

“Under your leadership and discipline, the productivity of this House touched new heights. During your term, Rajya Sabha’s productivity has increased 70 per cent. Attendance of members in the House also increased,” he said.

Even amid interruptions and disruptions, Naidu managed to run the House through “communication, coordination, and interaction”, Modi said.

“You always stressed that disruptions beyond a point are equivalent to ‘avmanana’ (contempt or derogation) of the House… I see the maturity of democracy in your principles,” he said.

“When there was a confrontation in the House, we always heard from you ‘let the government propose, opposition oppose, Parliament dispose!’,” he added.

Modi also made a passing reference to House proceedings being stalled, saying: “This House has the right to accept, reject or amend proposals from the other House but our democracy does not envisage stalling proposals received from the other House.”

Naidu often encouraged younger members and even scolded them when necessary, Modi said in his speech, adding that the outgoing Rajya Sabha chairman will continue to be an inspiration for future generations. Decisions such as bringing efficiency in working of the secretariat, use of IT and paperless working will help in the ‘upward journey of the Upper House’, he added.

Modi said Naidu’s witty one-liners were “revered, and never countered”. “Your one-liners are wit-liners and win-liners as well… There is nothing left to be said after that. Your each word is heard, preferred, revered and never countered,” Modi said.

Modi also said he has seen Naidu taking on various responsibilities and fulfilling them with great dedication. “…There is depth and substance in what M Venkaiah Naidu ji says, warmth and wisdom,” he said.

Though Naidu’s term is coming to an end, he will continue to remain active in public life, the Prime Minister said. “You have always said that you have retired from politics but are not tired of public life… Your term in the office may be coming to an end, but your experiences will continue to guide the nation for years to come,” he said.

While leaders from opposition parties also complimented Naidu’s style of executing house proceedings, several members like Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien alleged the opposition was not given opportunity to raise issues in the House.

While Naidu was able to raise the issue of rising petrol and diesel prices and the issue of phone tapping when he was in the opposition, the present opposition was not given a chance to raise issues of price rise and alleged snooping through Pegasus software, O’Brien said.

“One day you will answer in your autobiography why, coming from an agricultural family, you were not in the Chair that day (when the farm bills were passed)…,” he said.

The TMC leader also made a reference to Naidu’s childhood, referring to his mother’s demise, making the latter emotional.

Leader of opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, in his speech, said Naidu’s legacy will live on. The chairman performed his duties even under pressure, he said.

CPM MP John Brittas said: “I feel you are leaving at a time when Parliament and democracy need you more.”

Naidu was a “lamppost of diversity” when the “chorus got shriller for uniformity in food choices and culture,” Brittas said, adding that he would go down in history as the “President the nation missed.”

DMK’s Tiruchi Siva praised Naidu for doing away with the practice of members having to say “beg to lay” while presenting papers and allowing them to speak in any regional language.

Naidu was a “lion” in the House who could discipline everyone, Siva said.

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