Parliament proceedings | PM Modi lauds his predecessor Manmohan Singh for his contribution to Rajya Sabha

Manmohan Singh came to vote in the Rajya Sabha on a wheelchair to help strengthen democracy, Mr. Modi said.

February 08, 2024 12:25 pm | Updated 06:36 pm IST - New Delhi

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament. | Photo Credit: Kamal Narang

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be remembered every time there is a discussion on Indian democracy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, lauding his predecessor while bidding adieu to Mr. Singh who along with other 67 members are retiring from Rajya Sabha.

PM Modi, noted that in the last few months despite his ill-health, the former PM came on critical occasions to cast his vote, even if it meant coming in a wheelchair to the house. “He has made significant contributions both as leader of the house and leader of opposition. There may have been ideological differences or arguments during a debate, but all that is only momentary. His contribution for this country and for this house is long standing. Whenever our democracy will be discussed, he will be one of those few esteemed members whose contribution will always be remembered,” Mr. Modi said. 

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Mr. Singh was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in October 1991 after he became the Finance Minister. He had six terms in the Rajya Sabha — 1991, 1995, 2001, 2007, 2013 and 2019. He is currently a member of the Council of States from Rajasthan and his term ends on April 3, 2024.

The farewell speeches were packed with many poignant moments and several barbs. Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge’s speech evoked some light moments and laughter in the House as he recalled his years-long friendship with Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda.

“Deve Gowdaji spent his entire life for the cause of secularism, socialism and farmers. But I do not know what has happened suddenly that at such a ripe age, he has hugged Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and is praising him like anything. He is not in the habit of praising anyone.... I do not know what changed his habit,” Mr. Kharge said.

Mr. Gowda hit back taunting Mr. Kharge, if the Congress riven with central command-culture allow him to become the Prime Minister. His support to the BJP, he said, was to save his party [JD(S)] from “some of the Congressmen” who wanted to destroy it, Mr. Deve Gowda said. While acknowledging Mr. Kharge’s honesty and the support he had extended to him during his political career, the former prime minister blamed some Congress leaders for the fall of the Congress-JD(S) government in 2019, which was led by his son H. D. Kumaraswamy.

He claimed that despite his suggestion then that Mr. Kharge should become the Chief Mof Karnataka and not his son, the Congress high command insisted that Mr. Kumaraswamy should be the Chief Minister.

“...within 13 months, who removed him (Kumaraswamy)? Not Kharge but it was the Congress leaders,” he asserted.

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