Veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday, 28 February, lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi as someone who “does not hide his true self.”
This development comes a day after Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Anand Sharma expressed concern over the Congress party weakening ahead of Assembly elections in five states.
Azad, according to media reports, was speaking at a function organised by Gurjar Desh Charitable Trust in Jammu.
In his speech, Azad went on to draw parallels between himself and the PM, despite them being “political rivals”. PM Modi, on his part, had earlier in February teared up and delivered an emotionally charged speech on Azad’s retirement from the Rajya Sabha.
WHAT DID AZAD SAY?
In a clip shared by ANI, Ghulam Nabi Azad can be heard saying:
"“I like a lot of things about many leaders. There are many big leaders. Even our Prime Minister comes from a village and he used to sell tea. We are political rivals, but I appreciate the fact that he does not hide his true self.” "
Azad, as per ANI, also pointed out that those who hide their true selves are living in a bubble, and that a person should be proud (of his reality).
Further, Azad said:
“I am also from a village and I feel proud of it. I have travelled the whole world and I have stayed in 5-star and 7-star hotels, but when I sit down with people from my village… the fragrance… the feeling is unmatched.”
A DAY PRIOR TO AZAD’S SPEECH
A day prior to this speech, Azad is reported to have shared the stage at a Jammu event with Congress leaders who are part of the so called ‘G-23’, which is a group of leaders seeking reform within the party.
Senior party leader Kapil Sibal had on Saturday expressed concerns about the party growing weak and had said, “The truth is that we see Congress party becoming weak. That is why we have gathered here. We had gathered together earlier too and we have to strengthen the party together.”
Meanwhile, Congress’ Anand Sharma had said, “Congress has weakened in the last decade. Our voice is for the betterment of the party. It should be strengthened everywhere once again. The new generation should connect (to the party).”
Both Sibal, as well as Sharma had further lamented Azad’s retirement and hailed his role in the party.
Azad, on his part, on Saturday, had said that the strength of Congress is that it "equally respects" all religions, people and castes, and that other party leaders with him in Jammu had not spoken up any less than him in pressing matters.
“In the last 5-6 years, all these friends did not speak any less than me in the Parliament over J&K, its unemployment, stripping off of statehood, finishing off industries and education or the implementation of GST.”
Meanwhile, PM Modi had bid an emotional farewell to Azad on Tuesday, 9 February, calling him a “true friend”.
The Prime Minister had also said that the Opposition leader who will replace Azad will “have difficulty matching his work because he (Azad) was not only concerned about his party but also about the country and the House.”
Meanwhile, Azad had lauded Modi back then, too, saying that the latter knew how to keep the personal and the political separate.
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