New Delhi: In a departure from the usual political skirmishes, Rajya Sabha on Wednesday witnessed bonhomie as 58 retiring members were bid farewell with colleagues recalling their cherished memories.
Chairman Hamid Ansari led the House in paying tributes to the retiring members and his sentiments were echoed by Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley along with several others.
The Prime Minister, himself a member of the Upper House, said tensions often generated during debates in Parliament should have no impact on the country`s unity and integrity.
"When we debate various issues, often there is tension.
There are tensions on the surface, but underlying sentiments of all members of this House must be to maintain the unity and integrity of this country," he said.
The members borrowed quotes from Ramcharitmanas to the works of Urdu poet Bashir Badr to convey their sentiments with regard to the colleagues.
Ansari said, "Membership of Rajya Sabha is, in itself, a great honour and an abiding political experience. I do hope, the retiring members would cherish their association with this august House and leave with a sense of fulfilment in having played a stellar role in strengthening the democratic system of the country."
The retiring members represented Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Rajasthan in the House.
Jaitley said there is no last day in a Parliamentary calendar. "Both Houses of Parliament are the lifeline of the Indian democracy. Indian democracy is permanent and this House is permanent, our membership is transient," he said.
He said, "Ahulwalia`s colourful personality was almost synonymous to the culture of the House," and compared him with Pranab Mukherjee when it came to his understanding of Parliamentary procedure.