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Rajya Sabha bids farewell to Karan Singh; veteran MP tells parliamentarians to introspect why 'brilliant debates' are turning rare

New Delhi: Widely-respected Rajya Sabha veteran Karan Singh on Friday appealed to parliamentarians to introspect why brilliant debates are becoming rare and disruptions frequent, as the Upper House bade farewell to the Congress leader along with two other members.

Besides Singh, two other Congress MPs Janardan Dwivedi and Parvez Hashmi were given farewell.

All the three retiring MPs were elected from Delhi. The farewell was held on Friday, the last day of the Winter Session, as the date of their retirement on 27 January would fall in the inter-session period.

 Rajya Sabha bids farewell to Karan Singh; veteran MP tells parliamentarians to introspect why brilliant debates are turning rare

Karan Singh. Image courtesy: Facebook/doctorkaransingh

Recalling the contribution of the retiring MPs, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said they contributed significantly to the deliberations of the House and parliamentary committees.

They have also contributed to the process of "nurturing and strengthening" parliamentary democracy and enhancing the dignity and prestige of the Rajya Sabha.

In his speech, Singh said Parliament has evolved over the 50 years since he came to Delhi, but not all the changes have been positive.

"I used to remember when I went to the Lok Sabha first there were brilliant debates by Hiren Mukherjee, Madhu Limaye, Nath Pai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Bhupesh Gupta. Those were the debates now seem to me becoming rare, and disruptions are becoming more frequent.

"...I think, we need to do a little introspection to see what we can do to ensure that the parliamentary system functions according to the rules and positively," Singh said.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress said his veteran party colleague Singh had become the Head of State of Jammu and Kashmir at the age of 18 years, probably the youngest person in the world to occupy such a post.

During his political career, 86-year-old Karan Singh got the opportunity to interact with all the prime ministers, right from Jawaharlal Nehru till Narendra Modi, Azad said, adding he had either been in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha for four terms each.

Despite being born in a royal family and holding high positions, Singh never touched liquor, cigarette, or chewed paan throughout his life, and always remained humble, Azad said.

He also recalled Dwivedi's association with the socialist movement. Dwivedi, 72, completed his third term as Rajya Sabha MP.

Regarding 63-year old Hashmi, who was not present in the House for the farewell, Azad said he hoped his retiring party colleague would remain active in politics in future too.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recalled his interactions with Karan Singh and Dwivedi.

The minister said, in Karan Singh, he saw a 'philospher King', as envisaged by Aristotle. Of late, he said, Singh has stopped writing and urged the veteran Congress leader to continue it.

Prasad showered praise on Dwivedi for promoting Hindi in a simple and easy way.

Singh said he got opporutunities to interact with Nehru till Modi, and all of them worked in their own ways to build a new India, as envisaged by the first prime minister.

He said he came to Delhi as a young man of 36 and was retiring as an "idealistic old man".

As Karan Singh completed his speech, Naidu commented that hearing him was a "feast".

Dwivedi said generally farewell became like an "obituary reference" but Friday was different. He said he had spent 57 years in politics since the time he entered Allahabad University in 1960-61.

Dwivedi said he had great respect and regard for those who were born in poor families and became successful in life, as also for the ordinary party workers who made it big.

"From a philosophical point of view, our sympathy and goodwill could be with the pain and sufferings of the poor.

But if one has not lived that pain or suffered it, then one cannot become a true and complete leader. Nor can one become a complete intellectual. I have held this belief right from the beginning, Dwivedi said.

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Updated Date: Jan 05, 2018 21:14:29 IST

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