Modi bid adieu to Ghulam Nabi Azad, Nazir Ahmed Laway, Mohammad Fayaz and Shamsher Singh Manhas, all Rajya Sabha representatives of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, lauding them for playing a pivotal role in the Upper House.
In a rare scene, the PM got emotional while eulogising Azad’s traits. As his throat choked, Modi was forced to pause his speech and resumed speaking after drinking a few sips of water. Modi said that he has known Azad since before he became J&K chief minister in 2005 and praised Congress veteran's efforts in rescuing people from Gujarat who were stuck in Kashmir due to a terror attack. "..he sounded as concerned as if those stuck were his own family members," said Modi.
He further reminisced the time when he and Azad served as chief ministers, adding that how fond is Azad of gardening. Addressing Azad as a "true friend", Modi said that the Congress veteran has set high standards as an MP and as the Leader of the Opposition.
"Power comes and goes but (only a few know) how to digest it...therefore like a friend, I respect him on the basis of the things he has done over these years," he added while wiping his tears and saluting Azad. "At a personal level, I would request him to not believe that he is not in the House. My door is always open for all of you. I will always expect and value your inputs," he further said. "I will not let you become weak," the Prime Minister told Azad as he closed his comments.
For the unversed, Azad served as J&K chief minister between 2005 and 2008. He then had resigned from the post following the withdrawal of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) support to the coalition government.