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The Upper House, he said, has a special privilege as it can bid goodbye to retiring members and also welcome new ones. Lok Sabha does not have this benefit

The Upper House, he said, has a special privilege as it can bid goodbye to retiring members and also welcome new ones. Lok Sabha does not have this benefit.

Expressing gratitude to the retiring members, he said the 53 members in their six-year tenure have seen two governments.

“Both governments benefited from their knowledge and experience. This government benefited less, the previous one benefited more,” he said.

The nation has benefited from their Parliamentary contributions, he said. Speaking after Modi, Congress leader Anand Sharma noted that while the House had cleared important legislations like Bangladesh land boundary agreement, insurance bill that had been pending for seven years and the insolvency bill, it was true that there was delay in some.

He blamed ideological differences for it, saying they had led to stalling of the GST bill for years when the UPA was in power.

UPA had piloted the GST bill but BJP-ruled states like Gujarat had opposed the draft.

A wrong image was created outside that no work is transacted in Rajya Sabha, he said, adding obstructions are part of democracy and are used to put across reservations on
policies and programmes.

He, however, regretted the “bitterness” in political discourse saying debate and discussion are part of India’s rich democratic legacy.

“One has to be able to listen to dissenting voices without taking them personally but as ideological differences,” he said.

“Government role in building consensus is important. Opposition also has a role but government has a bigger role,” the Congress leader said