New Delhi: Over half-a-century has passed but the words of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to me "to keep eyes and ears open but mouth shut" for becoming a good Parliamentarian continues to reverberate in my mind, Union Minister Virbhadra Singh has said.
Singh, a veteran Congress leader from Himachal Pradesh, had entered Lok Sabha in 1962. There is no other member in the Lok Sabha at present who had entered into the Lower House before him.
"I was only 26-year-old when I became member of third Lok Sabha in 1962. Sitting alongside stalwarts like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and opposition leaders like Madhu Limaye, Hiren Mukherjee and Piloo Modi was a rich experience," he said as Parliament marks its 60th anniversary on Sunday.
"When I went to meet Pandit Nehru he advised me to keep eyes and ears open but mouth shut in order to become a good Parliamentarian," he recalled.
"I followed his advise religiously and accordingly would hear the speeches of ruling as well opposition members carefully and note important points," he said, adding that the suggestion still holds relevance for young parliamentarians.
Singh, who got elected to 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th and present 15th Lok Sabha, is the Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) at present.
He has also served as Himachal Pradesh chief minister for five times in the past.
Singh started his Lok Sabha inning from Mahasu seat in 1962 when Himachal Pradesh was part of Punjab.
Comparing the old Parliamentary tradition and that prevailing now, the 76-year-old leader said, "In those days members of treasury and opposition benches used to give hard- hitting speeches but there would be no bickering among them."
"There used to be friendly intervention and healthy debate and discussion among members of different sides... people used to hear each other with respect...But nowadays parliamentary proceedings are marred by frequent disruptions and members are trooping the well on slightest pretext," he said and urged MPs to keep national interest supreme.