NEW DELHI: An emotional Prime Minister Narendra Modi bade a tearful farewell to Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, whose current tenure ends on February 15. Azad signed off with a poignant speech that drew a parallel between the lives of Muslims in India and Pakistan, and said he prided himself in being a Hindustani Musalman.
Asserting that India was untainted by the evil practices prevalent in countries like Pakistan, Azad said, “If any Muslim in the world should be proud, it should be the Hindustani Muslims. I am among those who have never been to Pakistan, but when I read about the evils that exist in Pakistani society, I think Hindustani Muslims should be proud.”
Modi’s speech was interspersed with many long pauses as he broke down while recalling his long association with Azad Describing him as his true friend. Modi said: “his work will inspire generations of MPs to come. Posts come, high offices come, power comes, but one must learn from Ghulam Nabi Azadji how to handle them.”
Recalling the 2007 terror attack in Kashmir, where a grenade was lobbed at a bus carrying Gujarat pilgrims, Modi said, “Nabiji was as concerned as he would have been if his family members were victims. He was the first person to call me. During that call, he continuously wept,” Modi said, adding that he would always expect Azad to share his inputs with him.