The practice of holding discussions cutting across party lines on issues of national and international importance is "almost finished" and there is a need to revive it, veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said Tuesday. Joshi made the remarks here as he and other leaders paid tributes to senior Congress leader Jaipal Reddy, who passed away in July.
He recalled that Reddy, when he was a minister, was part of a key forum for discussions on Intellectual Property Rights in the 1990s and would often agree with the other members irrespective of the government line. There was also a forum in Parliament that used to keep having face-offs with the then prime minister on various issues and many a time CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury used to agree "with us and we used to agree with him on some issues", the BJP stalwart said, without elaborating.
"There used to be an attempt (in various forums) having people from different parties to try and form an opinion on national and international issues. Those attempts have become scarce, in fact, are almost finished. It is important to revive such practices," Joshi said. "There are some questions that are important to the country and in some cases also important to the world. Having discussions on them and forming an opinion is not only important for democracy, but for the country and its future," he said.
Holding discussions and consultations, cutting across party lines, keeping aside the relationship with the party, on problems facing the country would be the real tribute to Reddy, Joshi said. The BJP veteran along with other leaders, including Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and former prime minister Manmohan Singh, paid rich tributes to Reddy.
Former prime minister Singh said Reddy's leadership quality was a mix of a lot of things and the first and foremost was his faith in his beliefs. "As in the case of a true leader, he (Reddy) was a very good communicator, listening to others and setting examples for others to follow. A politician with a difference, he was an eloquent orator, a writer, a scholar and a witty speaker," Singh said.
The former prime minister said Reddy played a crucial role in convincing the government and the Congress on the importance of granting separate statehood for Telangana. "He was a staunch supporter for Telangana and he played a silent yet vital role towards taking the historic decision of dividing Andhra Pradesh and granting separate statehood for Telangana in 2014," Singh said.
"Throughout his life, Jaipal ji thought of India in terms of the needs of poor and the oppressed and the downtrodden. He always thought of their well being and the ways and means of promoting development -- both social and economic," he said. Naidu, in his remarks, hailed Reddy as an intellectual giant and a great orator.
Stating that he was a man of integrity and never compromised on his principles, the Vice President said Reddy always held on firmly to his moral and political values. "He had brought name and fame to every position he had held without ever compromising on his fundamental beliefs," he said.
Socialist leader Sharad Yadav, CPI General Scretary D Raja, CPI(M) General Secretary Yechury and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi also paid homage to Reddy. Reddy died at a hospital in Hyderabad in the early hours of July 28. He was 77.
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