NEW DELHI: “Yechury ji, I will always remember you”, said Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav in a chocked voice giving farewell speech to CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who retired from Rajya Sabha Thursday.
After he broke down, Yadav could not utter any word and soon Yechury, who sits right next to him in the front row in Rajya Sabha, consoled him and held his hand briefly. Soon, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and leaders from Congress walked up to Yadav and comforted him.
Yechury in his farewell speech did not forget to mention Yadav and added “Wherever I sit, I will always look towards my right for you (Yadav). I am sure you will be there.”
There were barbs, jokes and praises that members across party lines said for Yechury and some also criticized his party’s decision against a third Rajya Sabha term for him.
Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and Congress member Jairam Ramesh were the wittiest among all speakers and both remembered razor sharp questioning and reasoning from Yechury during all party meetings in NDA (National Democratic Alliance) and UPA (United Progressive Alliance).
Remembering college days, Jaitley, who and Yechury were contemporaries in Delhi University, said: “On a lighter note, if I may say so, I think, he has never had an opportunity of being in Government and, therefore, he has the privilege and the liberty of making several suggestions which are idealistic but unimplementable. I do hope, some day, this vacuum in his life will also get corrected.”
Besides Yechury, BJP member Dilipbhai Pandya and TMC member D Bandopadhyay also retired from the upper house.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad wished that a change be brought in CPI (M) constitution so that Yechury can get a third term in the upper house.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh remembered the time when he and Yechury would sit together to draft the Common Minimum Programme of UPA-I and UPA-II.
“Yechury was responsible, of course, for the troubles that both the Governments had. I used to often refer to him not as Sitaram Yechury, but as Sitaram ‘Obituary’, because he was the one who wrote the ‘obituary’ for both the UPA Governments in a way but, certainly, for UPA-I when the Left Front withdrew support on the 123 Agreement,” said Ramesh, as the entire house burst into peals of laughter.
Yechury in his speech said that Ramesh only said half part of the story as to barbs of Sitaram ‘Obituary’, he used to call him Jairam ‘mortuary’.
“If his policies are followed, then, you will be in the mortuary,” said Yechury. At that juncture, Jaitley was quick to add: “Jairam also has not changed. He continues to write obituaries.”
DMK leader Tiruchi Siva said that after Yechury is gone, another member would come to Division No 126 (seat where Yechury sat) but we will see only Yechury in that place as such is his performance.
Trinamool Congress Derek O’Brien, CPI (M) rival in West Bengal, said there could not be two forces which are so apart like both the parties.
“But I have to say this. Even the best and die-hard supporters of Manchester United, when they know that there is a good striker for Tottenham Hotspur, they still acknowledge that there is a very good striker for Tottenham Hotspur,” Brien said praising Yechury.
Yechury signed off with a couplet from Urdu poet Makhdoom Mohiuddin, saying the need is to take every together for building a better India.