Salute to Ghulam Nabi Azad underlined PM Modi’s personal ties with rivals

  • Leaders from the Congress and other Opposition parties have many stories to show that the Prime Minister has maintained personal rapport with leaders cutting across political boundaries.
PM Narendra Modi was emotional while giving a farewell to Ghulam Nabi Azad from Rajya Sabha.
PM Narendra Modi was emotional while giving a farewell to Ghulam Nabi Azad from Rajya Sabha.
Updated on Feb 14, 2021 03:37 PM IST
Copy Link
By | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, New Delhi

In 2015, senior Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi’s son was getting married. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been invited by Singhvi, a staunch opponent of the BJP, but he had doubts if the PM would attend a Congress leader’s family event.

To his pleasant surprise, not only did Modi come for the event, “but he spent almost an hour, freely chatting with the guests,” said Singhvi.

A few years ago, another senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh was in Parliament’s Central Hall when someone patted him on his shoulder. He turned around and saw a smiling Modi standing in front of him.

“Kabhi milte kyon nahi mujhse?” the PM asked Jairam, a leader who regularly fires salvoes at the Prime Minister and has coined various acronyms to take swipes at him.

Leaders from the Congress and other Opposition parties have many stories to show that the Prime Minister, who turned emotional last week while narrating an incident involving him and Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, has maintained personal rapport with leaders cutting across political boundaries.

The PM turned emotional and saluted Azad as he narrated a terror attack on Gujarati tourists in Srinagar when the latter was the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

Azad later told HT that he and Modi go back a long way. “When I was the Congress general secretary and he was a BJP leader, we used to often debate together on TV channels. And during the tea break, we would speak about many things in life.”

Similarly, CPI general secretary D Raja too, would meet Modi during TV channel debates and Modi continues to address him as “Raja bhai”.

The equation between the top brass of the Congress and Modi, however, has remained icy. Modi has been a harsh critic of the ‘dynasty’ in the Congress, which was also one of the major talking points for the PM during his 2014 campaign. There had been hardly any interaction between the leaders.

The only meeting Modi had so far with Congress president Sonia Gandhi was in November 2015, when the then finance minister Arun Jaitley and the then parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu organized a meeting involving the PM, his predecessor Manmohan Singh and Sonia to thrash out the differences between the two sides on the GST bill.

“Personally, I am firmly against basing political party boundaries with personal relationships. There’s no reason why I can’t invite the PM for a family event. Those who read suspicious signals have to rewind to the magnanimous days of Nehru, Bose and Ambedkar and see how they maintained good personal equations with leaders across political ideologies. In Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s words, we can have our political battles, but shouldn’t be ashamed of becoming friends when we meet later,” Singhvi said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 26, 2022