The other friends who have left  us  were  equally  eminent  in  their
respective  fields. Valmiki Choudhary was a great friend of mine. Almost every
month he met  me.  And  we  had  extensive  discussions  centered  around  his
writings, particularly of the days of Dr.Rajendra Prasad.

He was a very dear colleague and a very prolific writer. The field of literature will be poorer for his demise.

I wish to convey my own condolences and my Party's condolences to the bereaved families, Mr. Speaker. Let their souls rest in peace.


1140 hours

SHRI SOMNATH CHATTERJEE (BOLPUR): Mr. Speaker, Sir, on behalf of my party and myself, I associate with what has been said by you and other distinguished leaders in the House. We mourn the loss of our former President and all the distinguished colleagues who are no longer with us.

Sir, I had the privilege of being in the House when Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was the Speaker in 1977, although for a brief period. I cannot but wholeheartedly agree with what Shri Vajpayeeji has said, that is, as a Speaker, he was not stickler about the rules and procedures so much as he used to defuse the situation with his adept handling of the problem that would arise.

Sir, he was the man of the masses, he was a freedom fighter and he held with great distinction whatever Office he had to occupy; and I believe, during his period, in whatever position he occupied, he cultivated a culture of consensus which always helps in defusing situations and achieving what is required to be done. Sir, it is very difficult to substitute leaders like him in the national life. He occupied with great distinction, almost all the important Offices in this country including the highest Office of the land.

Sir, we deeply mourn his passing away and I know that it is not very easy to fill the void that has been created by his demise.

I also mourn the loss of other distinguished Members of this House; and I request you, Sir, on our behalf, to convey our sincere condolences to the members of the bereaved families. Thank you.


1143 hours

SHRI SURJEET SINGH BARNALA (SANGRUR): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to join the other eminent Members of the House in paying my tributes to Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and other five former colleagues of this House.

I had the opportunity of working with Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy for some time. He was born in a farming family; and he remained a farmer throughout his life, at heart. Whenever I had an opportunity of meeting him, he would talk of agriculture and of farming -- that showed his interest. I thought that it was because of the Department that I was handling at that time that he was asking me. But it was not so. He had the interest of the farmers at his heart. Though he was the President of India, he actually was a farmer. He rose to eminent positions because he loved his people, he served them well and people also loved him.

He became a Member of the A.P Legislative Assembly. Again and again, he was elected to the Assembly; he became a Minister, he became the Chief Minister. Then he was elected to the Parliament by the same people, not just once, but many times. He became a Minister here; he was elevated to the same Chair which you are holding now, Sir. He very ably handled all the situations, when he rose to the highest position in the country and became the President of India.

In 1977, I was attending FAO Conference in Rome when I received a message that there had been a very severe cyclone in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh.

And there had been a very heavy loss of life. I immediately came back and when I reached Delhi, I received a message that the President was visiting that area and I was to accompany him. So, I accompanied Sanjiva Reddyji to the coastal areas. We had to go there many miles by road and the sight was so distressing. Human corpses and animal carcasses were lying all along the road, littered in the fields. We even saw some dead bodies hanging from the electric lines about ten feet high from the ground. Water had risen so high in that area; sea had encroached the land for about twenty kilometres and then receded. So, there was a great loss of life; There were some gatherings and camps being organised at that time. We visited one of the camps and saw men, women and children almost naked; some women were half-naked and starving. He had tears in his eyes and told me, "Mr. Barnala, can you do something for them, some clothing and food?" I replied that by the evening everything will be supplied and the next day, when I told him that supplies of clothes and food had been arranged for that area, he was very happy. He was tender at heart, seeing eyes filled with tears. A person with such an exalted position shows that he had a tender heart, heart which bled for the people and cared for the people.

A time came later when Choudhary Charan Singh resigned after some time. There was no confidence motion in the House. A few days after that, Mr. Sanjiva Reddy called me to the Rashtrapati Bhawan and told me that he had an idea of having an interim national government and then surprisingly, he told that it was to be headed by me. I thanked him and told that I was not worthy of it and asked him as to why did he think of me. Then he said, "I know some qualities which others do not have and which you have." So, Sir, I have fond memories of this great man who served India so ably in different positions.

Shri D.D. Puri was from Punjab; he was a legislator also and I had an opportunity of being with him as his colleague when he came to the Parliament. He was a dedicated man with nationalist views, had made sacrifices for the independence of the country and later served the State as well as the country to the best of his capacity. On my own behalf and my party's behalf, I join other Members in conveying heart-felt condolences.


SHRI CHITTA BASU (BARASAT): Sir, I join you, the Leader of the House, the Leader of the Opposition and other distinguished Members of this House to express my profound sorry and grief on the passing away of former President Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and other distinguished Members of the House who are no longer with us.

Sir, Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was a stalwart in the nation's freedom struggle; he was an able administrator; he was a great statesman and had qualities which are very rare. He adorned the Chair which you are occupying now.

He left an indelible mark in conducting this House. He set up certain landmarks in creating new conventions and traditions by giving a number of rulings. I had the privilege of working in this House when he was occupying that exalted Office of the Speakership. Sir, I felt him as a guide, philosopher and inspirer, as when new Members were at a difficulty, he was always available in his Chamber for providing some guidance, information and also necessary instruction. I owe my debt to him as a young and new Member of this House. As the President of this great country of ours, he discharged his Constitutional responsibilities in a marked manner. He has become a name which the countrymen can never forget. I join you, leaders of this House and other distinguished Members in conveying my respectful homage to the departed leader. On my behalf, I also request you to convey the condolences of my party to the other bereaved families.


SHRI SURESH PRABHU (RAJAPUR): Mr. Speaker, Sir, it is very unfortunate that a person of eminence of Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy has passed away. On my own behalf and on behalf of my party I join you in extending our heart-felt condolences to the bereaved families.

A person who made a very humble beginning in his political career remained a humble man despite his attaining high offices and ultimately becoming the President of India. He was a person who became the Chief Minister, Union Minister, Speaker of the House and also the President of India. His Presidency passed through one of the most turbulent times the Indian politics has witnessed. Despite that he passed with flying colours. That bears the testimony of his statesmanship. I am one of the unfortunates who never knew him personally though I appreciated him as a person from distance. He is always as nice as knowing a person from close quarters. We would certainly like to join you in extending our condolences to the bereaved family members and also to the family members of other five Members of this House who have passed away.


SHRIMATI GEETA MUKHERJEE (PUNSKURA): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I join the Prime Minister, Leader of the House, Leader of the Opposition and other distinguished leaders who have already spoken and expressed their appreciations about Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy. Most important things have already been said and I do associate myself and my party with all those. I would like to make another point. He was not only a statesman, a person of great eminence, a person who was very kind at heart, he never changed his lifestyle despite being in such an exalted office.

In today's India, that is one of the qualities which I think all of us must appreciate and try to emulate.

Sir, from a very humble beginning to the highest office he conducted himself with great ability. In losing him, our country has lost a brilliant son and the void shall always be felt. I would like to express my condolences also to the family. I request you to pass them on to the family on my behalf as well as on behalf of our Party.

I also pay my respects to the other hon. Members of this House Shri Ram Charan, Shri Valmiki Choudhary, Shri D.D. Puri, Shri P.A. Antony and Shri Vijay Pal Singh. I request you to pass on our sorrow and condolences to the bereaved families of these Members who were with us at one time and who are no more.

Thank you.


SHRI G.M. BANATWALA (PONNANI): Mr. Speaker, Sir, we associate ourselves with the sentiments expressed on the sad demise of the former President Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy. Indeed he was a man gifted with qualities of head and heart. He was an eminent freedom fighter and after Independence great has been his contribution to the nation-building.

Sir, he brought honour and dignity to every post that he had held, the posts of the Ministers, of the Speaker of this House, the Member of the Constituent Assembly and also the President of our republic. Indeed, the national loss is very great and words will never be sufficient to describe the profound sorrow into which the entire nation plunged on receiving the sad news of his demise.

It is for such tall personalities and on the passing away of such tall personalities that the Urdu poet of the East Dr. Allana Iqbal had said:

Wɮ ɱ xɮMɺ +{x xڮ {ɮ i ,

c ʶE i Sɨx nn ɮ {n**

We all mourn the national loss. Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy has left his footprints on the sands of time. He will be long remembered.

We also mourn the sad demise of our other Members of the House already mentioned. Through you, Mr. Speaker, we convey our sincere condolences to the bereaved families.


SHRI SANAT KUMAR MONDAL (JOYNAGAR): Sir, Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, the former President of India was a great leader who served the nation in various capacities with distinction.

Following his death, the country has lost a great patriot, an able administrator and a distinguished statesman. The loss is irreparable. On behalf of my party, the R.S.P., and on my own behalf, I convey our deepest condolence to the bereaved family of the departed President, Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and of the other colleagues of this House.


SHRI N.V.N. SOMU (MADRAS NORTH): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I also associate myself with the feelings expressed by the other leaders of the House on the demise of Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy. Dr. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, a former President was a stalwart of the freedom struggle is no more with us. He was one of the forerunners of the freedom movement of this country.

He was a true Gandhian who fought for the nation's Independence and had been imprisoned on several occasions. In the post-Independence era, he had shown a keen interest in the country's development. As you said, he was the President of the Republic of India between 1977 and 1982. During his tenure he had sworn in three Prime Ministers, Shri Morarji Desai, Shri Charan Singh and Shrimati Indira Gandhi. He was praised for his behaviour with each one of them with grace and highness befitting his high office. The late President had been a successful Chief Minister and also a Central Minister in charge of a major economic portfolio, that is, Ministry of Steel. He was the Presiding Officer of this august House. As Speaker he never referred to Rules Book and conducted the House to the entire satisfaction of all sections. He conducted the proceedings nonchalantly with conciliation and a sense of humour. There was a certain old world charm about him, with his famous stride flashing after a rather searching comment. In voicing his Government policies he used very straightforward expressions.

Sir, with proud honour I want to state that he was also a Member of the Legislative Assembly in our composite Madras State. He was a true Gandhian to the core. He said once that "Gandhiji taught us to return good for evil: Why should we give up our manners?" The successful President had been touched by Gandhiji and Panditji.

With the passing away of Dr. Sanjiva Reddy, another crucial link in this chain has gone.

Sir, on behalf of the D.M.K. party to which I belong, I associate myself with the House and pay my respects to the departed leader and I also pay my respects to the other departed former Members of Parliament.


SHRI MADHAVRAO SCINDIA (GWALIOR): Mr. Speaker, Sir, we would like to be associated with the sentiments of tribute about Dr. Sanjiva Reddy being expressed in this House today.

I had the privilege of knowing Dr. Sanjiva Reddy right from 1967 when he was first Speaker and then later in 1977 and even later as the President of India.

Sir, Dr. Reddy was always a person who greatly encouraged the younger elements in the House. And I am sure that this example would be emulated by the very young Speaker that we have today. He did say that a Speaker should be seen but not heard. I do not know how far we are going to allow you to adhere to this dictum. Dr. Sanjiva Reddy was born in a farming family, joined freedom struggle under the leadership of pujya bapuji.

He later held so many high offices both in party organisation, as a Central Minister and as Chief Minister. He is the only person to have emerged victorious second time after having lost the first Presidential elections which showed the grit of his determination. I remember, in 1969 I was personally witness to the happenings, which was my first introduction, to the hurly-burly world of national politics.

In the passing away of Dr. Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, we have lost a true patriot and an illustrious son of India. I would like you, Sir, to convey our deepest condolences to the bereaved family. I would also like you to associate us with the condolences to be sent to all the other erstwhile colleagues who are no more with us.


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