House pays tributes to Sushma and Jaitley to mark session’s 1st day
Former finance minister Jaitley, who had been battling a series of illnesses, died of multiple organ failure at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on August 24. Senior BJP leader, Swaraj died of a cardiac arrest in Delhi on August 6.Updated: Nov 18, 2019 23:54 IST
Breaking with tradition, Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu allowed members of different political parties to pay tributes to five late MPs, including two sitting members — former finance minister Arun Jaitley and Ram Jethmalani— in the Upper House on the opening day of Parliament’s winter session on Monday.
In the Lok Sabha, Speaker Om Birla read out an obituary reference on Sushma Swaraj. “Swaraj was a prolific orator and a prominent face of women’s representation in Indian politics. As the External Affairs minister, she gave a humane face to the ministry. Her demise has resulted in the loss of a humane leader,” Birla said.
In the ordinary course, the Rajya Sabha chairman reads out obituary references after which the members rise and observe two minutes of silence as a mark of respect.
After the members had paid their tributes, Naidu adjourned the proceedings of the House till 2 pm as a mark of respect to Jaitley and Jethmalani.
Naidu made obituary references to former members Jagannath Mishra, Sukhdev Singh Libra and Gurudas Dasgupta. Naidu allowed members to speak as one of the obituary references was to Jaitley, who was respected across the political spectrum.
Naidu said Jaitley left an indelible mark on all the ministries he headed and he was instrumental in piloting several important legislation such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the Benami Transactions Act.
“He also played a key role in the implementation of initiatives like Jan Dhan Yojna, linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts for direct subsidy transfer, merger of the rail budget with the general budget…,” the Chairman said. Jaitley died on August 24.
Leader of the Opposition in the house Ghulam Nabi Azad said the personal equation that Jaitley shared with other members helped turn political bitterness into good-naturedness.
Trinamool Congress member Derek O’Brien said Jaitley was a mentor to many new Parliamentarians despite having diagonally opposite political ideologies.
Congress MP Anand Sharma called Jaitley a bridge builder without whom the NDA government would not have been able to pass laws like the GST Act.