RS members bid adieu to K Rahman Khan

New Delhi: It was unusual bonhomie in the Rajya Sabha today as members cutting across party lines spoke in unison as they bade farewell to K Rahman Khan as Deputy Chairman besides `dream girl` of yesteryears Hema Malini and some others on expiry of their terms.

Deputy leader of the Opposition S S Ahluwalia, joined by several others, complimented Khan for conducting the House proceedings over the last eight years with discipline, impartiality and always with a smile.

He wished him further progress in his political career. "When you smile, it looks natural and when you express anger, it does not look genuine," Balbir Punj (BJP) said.

A Chartered Accountant-turned-politician, Khan has been re-elected to the House but would not be the Deputy Chairman.

Another BJP member Ravi Shanker Prasad told Khan, "if any of us has hurt you by our conduct, we apologise." He said Khan had taken the prestige of the House to newer heights and wished he continued on the post. "Without you, we cannot imagine the House."

Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid quoted from Oliver Twist in his tribute to Khan and said "You can go but be back soon." Khurshid said, "We are greatly honoured to find a friend, philosopher and guide. It is a great day for Parliament and democracy. We will cherish his values and wisdom."

An emotional Khan thanked members for their love and affection. "Throughout, you have given me love, respect…something that I will cherish. Sometimes Chair has compulsions…has constraints…I apologise if anyone is hurt by my ruling…not getting opportunity to speak," he told the members. Currently in his fourth term in the Rajya Sabha, Khan said, "I am moved with the sentiments of the House…love and respect…" .

Earlier, elaborating her experiences in Rajya Sabha as one of the most memorable, Hema Malini said though she became attached to it and felt sad at this juncture when she had to retire as a member, "things must move on".

"I was the number one heroine in the film industry in the past. As time passes you find there is some one else as number one. Nothing is permanent in life. I also feel attached. I feel sad," she said. She said she had learnt a lot in the House of Elders and it was "with a heavy heart that I am leaving."

Recalling Shri Aurobindo`s words that India would become super power, she urged members to strive for achieving this goal through unconditional love and purity of thought. Ramdas Agarwal (BJP) said he had served in Rajya Sabha for 18 years and was retiring at the age of 75 with cherished memories.