Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday bid farewell to 60 retiring members of the upper house. The day also saw disruptions, which has marred this second leg of Budget session ever since it began on March 5, taking a backseat as members shared their experiences and took greetings of the stalwarts.
Underlining that Rajya Sabha exemplifies the principle of change and continuity in the polity, the Chairman said, “new members come with a new outlook, a new orientation and a new insight and they will certainly have the benefit of learning from some of the veteran members who have excelled in their parliamentary work”.
“This principle of continuity is the hallmark of Rajya Sabha and we take pride in the strength of this fine blend of continuity with change,” he added.
Several senior leaders including Deputy Chairman Prof. PJ Kurien, four nominated members will be retiring this session.
“I would like to place on record my deep sense of appreciation to Prof. Kurien for the valuable guidance and cooperation that I have received from him. His professional advice has helped me immensely in discharging my duties and responsibilities. I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that our former Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, Shri K. Rahman Khan is also retiring,” the Chairman said.
Sharing his experience as an MP of the Upper House, Vekaiah Naidu told how he witnessed veterans in the Chair conducting the proceedings with a measure of dignity and grace.
“On this occasion, let me place on record the contributions made by them (veterans) which have always enriched and enlivened the debates in the House. Their initiative and participation in the Committees have been invaluable,” he said.
The House also bid farewell to the four nominated members – Rekha, Anu Aga, Sachin Tendulkar and Parasaran – the individuals commanding accord in their respective professions prior to their nomination in the Upper House.
“These eminent Members with their enormous accomplishments in their respective fields have enhanced the stature and profile of the House,” the Chairman said.
Emphasising that the participation of women members in the proceedings of Rajya Sabha has been very significant, the Chairman also noted that it is a matter of concern that despite the stellar contributions made by many women members, they still constitute only 11.7 per cent of the total membership of the House.
“It is ironical that even though Rajya Sabha is proud that it has passed the Women’s Reservation Bill way back in 2010 seeking better representation of women in legislative bodies, there is still a very low representation of women in this House,” said the Chairman.
Chairman Naidu, at the same time, congratulated the members who got re-elected.
“I am glad that the Hon’ble Leader of the House, Shri Arun Jaitley Ji is also back with us. We congratulate him as well as other Ministers and Members on their re-election,” he said.
Telling that retirement from Rajya Sabha should be viewed as an opportunity to promote the welfare of the people, the Chairman said, “Once we are in public life there is, in my view, no retirement”.
“Our bond with the people we serve is a bond that endures. It continues and only gets strengthened with each passing year,” he said.
At the same time he also made mention of disruptions in the house, particularly in this session.
“On the one hand, I have witnessed very high quality of debates on several occasions and on the other hand, I am filled with sadness at the disorderly, indisciplined, intemperate conduct of some of us. In this current Session, I had, on several occasions, appealed to the good sense of the political parties, their leaders and the Members to ensure the smooth functioning of the House. I must confess that I am deeply perturbed at the way we have been conducting ourselves,” the Chairman said.
Disruptions have unfortunately become a part of political tactic and the House has often become the theatre of protest politics, he said urging the members for constructive engagement with public issues in the future and a behaviour that “befits the dignity and stature that people of this great country have bestowed upon us”.
Concluding his remarks, the Chairman, who is also the Vice President of the Union, once again sought member’s introspection on the aspect of disruptions in the house.
“Let us not further erode the quality of our polity. Let us leave a legacy of powerful ideas, fruitful debates and respectful behaviour,” the Rajya Sabha Chairman said.