Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he was “proud” of the leader, ANI has reported. Azad, who recently retired from the Rajya Sabha, had on Saturday shared the stage with some ‘group of 23’ Congress leaders at an event in Jammu and Kashmir.
“I like a lot of things about many leaders. I’m from a village and am proud of that… I’m also proud that leaders like our Prime Minister, who used to sell tea, also come from villages. We may be rivals but I appreciate he doesn’t hide his true self,” ANI quoted Azad as saying.
#WATCH I like lot of things about many leaders. I'm from village & feel proud… Even our PM hails from village & used to sell tea. We're political rivals but I appreciate that he doesn't hide his true self. Those who do, are living in bubble: Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad in Jammu pic.twitter.com/8KKIYOwzZB— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2021
“Those who do are living in a bubble. A person should take pride in who he is and where he comes from. I have travelled the world and stayed in 5-star hotels, in 7-star hotels, but when I sit with people from my village… there is a fragrance that makes it special,” he said.
Modi had earlier bid an emotional farewell to Azad, who retired from the Rajya Sabha, recalling his memories with the Congress leader. The PM said whoever replaces Azad would have difficulty living up to his work.
“The person who will replace Ghulam Nabi ji (as Leader of Opposition) will have difficulty matching his work because he was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House,” PM Modi had said, speaking in the Rajya Sabha.
At the event on Saturday, Azad sported a saffron turban, and called the term ‘G23’ (group of 23 Congress leaders, who wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi in August last year) a media creation. “We are not against anyone or any leader. We are working for the Congress and to strengthen it. There are many who are trying to divide the nation. We are looking to develop the nation,” he had said.
He addressed media at the event ‘Shanti Sammelan’, in Jammu where the former leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha was accompanied by other Congress dissenters like Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal and Raj Babbar. Azad said, “In the last five-six years, all these friends (party leaders) did not speak any less than me in the Parliament over Jammu and Kashmir, its unemployment, stripping off of statehood, finishing off industries and education, implementation of GST. Be it Jammu or Kashmir or Ladakh, we respect all religions, people and castes. We equally respect everyone, that is our strength and we will continue with this,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said.