February 12, 2021; Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has rejected speculation that he was likely to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) days after his farewell in Rajya Sabha grabbed the headlines as Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke down while talking about him on Tuesday. Modi heaped praise on Azad and called him a leader who cared for his party, country, and Parliament.
“I will join the BJP when we have black snow in Kashmir,” he said in an interview with HT days before he is due to retire from Rajya Sabha on Monday.
Azad said he has known Modi since the 90s when they would participate in TV debates. He added they fought, and even shared a cup of tea. Azad maintained those who say he will join the BJP or spread these rumours do not know him.
Azad also spoke about his cordial ties with another BJP leader, late former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. “When [BJP leader] Rajmata Scindia was the deputy leader of the Opposition, she stood up and said some allegation about me. I got up and I said that I take the allegation very seriously, and on behalf of the government, I would like to suggest a committee which would be chaired by [Atal Bihari] Vajpayee and would have her and [LK] Advani as members. I said that they should complete the report in 15 days, and whatever punishment they suggest, I will accept it. Vajpayeeji came in as I mentioned him and asked why. When I told him, he stood up and said ‘I offer my apologies to the House, and also to Ghulam Nabi Azad. Maybe Rajmata Scindia does not know him, but I do’.”
Azad said Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote a long letter to him appreciating his work all through as the party’s general secretary and the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha. “She also said that we have to work together to strengthen the organisation, and after that, I met her. She said we have to prepare for elections.” He added he has also met former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi twice.