The parliament witnessed a rare bonhomie this morning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi praising his predecessor Manmohan Singh for being an “inspiration” for lawmakers.
Bidding farewell to the retiring members, the Prime Minister recalled when Mr Singh arrived at the Parliament in a wheelchair to cast his vote over a key legislation.
“I remember during the voting in the House, it was known that the treasury bench would win but Dr Manmohan Singh came on his wheelchair and cast his vote. This an example of a member being alert of his duties. He was an inspirational example,” he said.
The Prime Minister said it wasn’t about who Mr Singh was supporting and that he believes “he was only strengthening this democracy.”
“I pray that he lives long and keep guiding us,” he added.
In August, Mr Singh had reached the parliament in a wheelchair during a discussion on a key bill that sought to empower the central government to make rules in affairs related to the Delhi government. During Presidential elections too, he had arrived in a wheelchair to cast his vote.
Manmohan Singh’s contributions as a leader and in the opposition has been immense, the Prime Minister said. “Ideological differences are short lived, but the way Manmohan Singh has guided this House and the country for such a long period, he will be remembered for his contributions during every discussion on our democracy,” he added.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, who spoke next, thanked PM Modi for his words about Manmohan Singh.
“Manmohan Singh did good work. I thank the PM for his words. This is how things should be. Appreciate good work and criticise the bad,” said the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
Manmohan Singh, a six-time MP, has served as the country’s 13th Prime Minister between 2004 and 2014. He was also the Finance Minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government and RBI Governor from 1982-1985.