Rajya Sabha bids farewell to retiring members

Economic Times,Aug 11, 2023

The Rajya Sabha on Friday bid farewell to five members, including BJP leader Jugalsinh Lokhandwala who will retire on August 18, and recalled their contribution to the House. Out of the nine retiring members, four have been re-elected and the House will miss the presence of other five members, Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar said.

Four members — S Jaishankar of the BJP and three AITC members Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Derek O Brien and Dola Sen — have been re-elected to the Upper House while the five retiring members are Jugalsinh Lokhandwala and Dineshchandra Jemalbhai Anavadiya of the BJP, Sushmita Dev and Shanta Chhetri from the AITC and Pradip Bhattacharya from the Congress.

“The five retiring members have made rich and significant contribution to the proceedings of the House during the course of their tenure. I am sure they would cherish the unique honour of their association with the House and will continue with their contribution to the nation at large,” Dhankhar said.

The chairman wished retiring members and hoped they will remain in touch with their colleagues with whom they have spent time in the House.

Asserting that there is no retirement in politics, Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said they are not retiring permanently.

“Politics is not a government service but a life long service,” he added.

Leader of the House Piyush Goyal highlighted the contribution of Jaishankar in the House and at the global level as external affairs minister, leading to uproar in the House

At this point, the Chair intervened and said, “Leader of the House has reflected on a particular member. I share your sentiment. Every member who is retiring and could have retired but continuing because of re-election have made significant contribution. Those who get as opportunity as minister have a different kind of performance and we are proud of that.”

“But we are equally proud of the members who did not have the occasion because their parties are not in power. The implication of LoH is not a reflection on another member,” he said.

Goyal later said the Opposition should not have assumed that he will not mention about the contribution of other members.

Raising a point of order, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said it has been a tradition that the prime minister remains in the House during the farewell of retiring members, and added, “Please call him today at least and not insult the Rajya Sabha like this.”

Before laying the papers, Goyal congratulated Dhankhar for completing one year as vice president and chairman of the Upper House.

On this, Kharge said had he informed earlier, everyone could have spoken a few words on completion of Dhankhar’s one year as vice president.

Extending best wishes to retiring members, Tiruchi Siva (DMK) said parting is always painful.

“This House is the real reflection of unity in diversity. We are from various states, speaking different languages and coming from different cultures. There is no other forum that is an example of the country’s integrity,” Siva said.

K Keshava Rao (BRS) wished the retiring members the best in their life and hoped they would have more time in the service of the people.

Referring to the disruptions in the House in the Monsoon session, O’ Brien apologised to the retiring members that in their last 23 days in the Rajya Sabha they did not get enough opportunity to put forward their views and also hoped that the prime minister had spent time in the House.

Anavadiya and thanked BJP leaders for giving them an opportunity to represent the party in this House.

Lokhandwala said he was lucky to participate in some very important legislations, including abrogation of Article 370 and legislation to ban triple talaq.

Pradeep Bhattacharya (Congress) said, “I had the impression that at least this august House will come out with a resolution on the Manipur House. But, unfortunately, that did not happen”.

Chhetri thanked party leaders for giving her an opportunity to serve in the House and the Chairman for extending all support during her six-year tenure.

Chhetri said she has worked tirelessly to raise the issues of the Gorkha people living in Darjeeling and also matters pertaining to West Bengal.

Dhankhar told her, “Your presence has been effective and your absence will be felt.”

Sushmita Dev (AITC) said she feels privileged to serve in the Rajya Sabha, which she used to hear from the galleries when she was a member of the Lok Sabha.

“I feel that the way the peace in the northeast has been stitched together, it is a delicate process, because of the different aspirations of ethnic and linguistic groups. It is a fine balance, which we should maintain,” she said.

She recalled how the late BJP leader Arun Jaitley had once helped her speak against a bill which he was piloting in Lok Sabha.

Sasmit Patra (BJD), Rajeev Shukla (Congress), Ram Nath Thakur (JDU), P T Usha (Nominated), Narain Dass Gupta (AAP) and V Sivadasan (CPI-M) also gave their best wishes to all those retiring from the House.

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