New Delhi: Felicitating 97 Rajya Sabha MPs, who have retired or are retiring this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said people with such experience and capabilities can never "retire" and should continue to work for the benefit of the nation.
Citing the examples of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who took to teaching school children after his Presidentship was over and former Prime Minister of Great Britain John Major, Modi said after going from Rajya Sabha, the members should continue to work in the field of their interest.
The farewell function for the retired and retiring Rajya Sabha members was attended among others by the Chairman of Upper House Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a number of MPs from all parties.
Many of the MPs, who retired in 2014 and 2015, have already been renominated. The last such function was held in December 2014.
Today, all Rajya Sabha members who have retired after that,
were felicitated. While 74 members are retiring this year, in 2015 and 2014, 11 and 12 MPs respectively had already retired.
Those, who were felicitated on the occasion included Union Ministers Birender Singh, Piyush Goyal, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP spokesperson MJ Akbar, Congress leaders MS Gill, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Ashwani Kumar, Oscar Fernandes, CPI-M leaders KN Balagopa and TN Seema and nominated member HK Dua.
Gill, who spoke on behalf of retiring members, recounted how he felt when he came to Parliament after serving as Chief Election Commissioner and lauded the contribution of politicians to the nation.
Gill, who hails from Punjab, suggested in a lighter vein that his services can be utilised after his retirement from Rajya Sabha as elections are due in that state.
When Aiyar came to receive the award, he greeted the Prime Minister and others on the dais from a distance but did not shake hands with Modi who had days ago in the Upper House mocked at him dismissing his reactions as "bhule bisre geet" (forgotten songs) reminding him of his impending retirement from Rajya Sabha.
Kurien noted the less attendance of MPs at the event, saying like in Parliament, the attendance here is also less. He said he had expected more MPs to be present at the function.
Ansari said retirement from the membership of the House does not mean retirement from life.
When Akbar came on the dais to receive a memento, Azad recited a line from an old Bollywood song "Abhi Abhi To Aaye Ho".
Ansari also asked him "you too are going."
The function, which was marked by bonhomie concluded with a sufiana qawwali.