New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) Amid the logjam over parliament proceedings on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged pleasantries with former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other opposition leaders in the Rajya Sabha.
Modi entered the Rajya Sabha shortly after noon as Chairman M. Hamid Ansari was adjourning the house due to opposition protests.
As the house was adjourned, instead of walking out, the prime minister walked towards the opposition benches.
He was first greeted by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar, followed by the latter’s party colleague Praful Patel.
The prime minister then proceeded towards the next bench, where former ally Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav was seated. Yadav stood up and both exchanged greetings.
Modi then greeted Congress leader Anand Sharma, and walked up to former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s seat.
The former prime minister folded his hands to greet Modi, who in turn shook hands with him.
Modi then proceeded to shake hands with Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The prime minister then also shook hands with Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry, who contested against him from Vadodara in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, and was seen chatting with Congress leader Karan Singh.
He also gave a pat to Congress member from Andhra Pradesh V. Hanumantha Rao, who was holding a placard with ‘Sack Sushma’ written on it.
On his way back to the treasury benches, Modi met Communist Party of India’s D. Raja and some of his own party members.
Some BJP leaders bent down and touched the prime minister’s feet.
Modi’s gesture towards the opposition leaders was seen by many as a move to reduce tension between the opposition and the government, with protests marring the monsoon session for three straight days.
The government is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha, and the opposition, in previous sessions, had complained about the prime minister coming to the upper house less frequently.
The prime minister’s gesture did win some hearts.
“It was good on the prime minister’s part to greet opposition leaders. Opposition is on issues, not to people; such gestures are diplomatic strong points,” a Rajya Sabha member said.