Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded former Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu for his commitment to ideology, which drove him to join a political party that had little presence in his state of Andhra Pradesh, saying his "energy is infectious".
In a three-page farewell letter to Naidu, whose term as the vice president ended on Wednesday, the prime minister said, "Your energy is infectious. It can be seen in your wit and wisdom. Your one-liners are widely admired. Articulation has always been among your greatest strengths."
Recalling Naidu's strengths, Modi said from the small lanes of Nellore to the vice-presidency, yours has been an outstanding and inspiring journey."Whenever any challenge or setback came, it only strengthened your resolve to go about your work with even more courage," Modi said.
Referring to his chairmanship of Rajya Sabha, Modi said Naidu has always been a "stickler for parliamentary discipline and traditions".
"I know of your personal anguish and discomfort whenever there were unseemly disruptions or the dignity of the Parliament was lowered in any manner. Whenever you spoke about it, there was deep pain in your voice, conveying your worry for the long-term future of our nation and the vibrancy of the Parliament," Modi wrote in the letter addressed to Naidu as Venkaiah 'garu' (honorific suffix).
The prime minister said as the chairman of Rajya Sabha, Naidu presided over the House with brilliance. "Your warm relations with leaders in the treasury and opposition benches furthered a spirit of cordiality in the House. It was heartening to see first-time members, women, and younger members get more opportunities to express themselves."
The success of your approach is evident in the record rise in the Rajya Sabha's productivity during your years as the Chairman, Modi pointed out.
"In the five years gone by, several historic bills have been passed and you will certainly look back at them with satisfaction. I am sure the legislations on Articles 370 and 35(A) (relating to abrogation of certain sections of Article 370), which were first tabled in the Rajya Sabha, would have made you very proud," he said.
Recalling Naidu's tenure in the BJP organisation, the prime minister said it has also been memorable. "Needless to say, the interest you took in organisational matters energised every karyakarta (worker). You made efforts to strengthen systems in the party, by setting up more party offices, ensuring they are active hubs of public service and elaborating on the exact roles of each party position."
Responding to Modi's letter, Naidu tweeted, "I warmly reciprocate Raksha Bandhan greetings to PM Modi ji. Grateful to him for his letter warmly and fondly touching upon various aspects of my journey of 5 decades in public life. Shri Modi's support during this journey has been a big asset to me."
In his letter, Modi also said personally he has benefited from Naidu's counsel on many matters during their interactions over the last many decades.
"As the vice president, your objective understanding of governance issues combined with your extensive ministerial experience and legislative knowledge was extremely enriching. You viewed every subject from the prism of 'Nation First' and then gave your views," PM Modi recalled.
The writings of Vinoba Bhave have always impressed him, the prime minister said. "He (Bhave) knew how to present things in a crisp manner using the most suitable words. Whenever I hear you, I see shades of the same brilliance. You have the ability to mesmerise an audience and convey things in a simple manner," he told Naidu.
(With PTI Inputs)