Parliamentarians on Thursday showcased their talent by singing movie and patriotic songs and playing the guitar at a cultural evening to honour retiring Rajya Sabha members.
It was after a gap of two decades that saw such an occasion where MPs of the upper house enthralled their fellow colleagues at a dinner hosted by Chairman and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu for 72 retiring members.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also attended the dinner at Naidu's residence, where he clicked pictures with some of the outgoing members and interacted with them.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Leader of the House Piyush Goyal, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Bharatiya Janata Party president J P Nadda and several other union ministers were present on the occasion.
Leaders of several political parties including leader of opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, Sharad Pawar, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Satish Chandra Misra, Ram Gopal Yadav were also present.
There was bonhomie all around as six members enthralled their colleagues.
Dola Sen (Trinamool Congress) sang a patriotic song of Rabindranath Tagore which was penned in 1905 as a mark of protest against the Partition of Bengal by Lord Curzon.
Another song by Tagore in 1906 was sung by Roopa Ganguly.
BJP's Ram Chandra Jangra sang another patriotic song from film Poorab Se Pashchim, while Vandana Chavan (Nationalist Congress Party) crooned a Hindi film number from Imtihaan.
The evening that saw the country's rich cultural diversity on display started with Meera's song by Sonal Mansingh (Nominated), while Santanu Sen of TMC strummed the guitar and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's Tiruchi Siva sang a Tamil film song.
Later all sang a chorus number Kabhi Alvida na Kehna.
The farewell function was organised in honour of the 72 retiring members till July and another two later.
These retiring member were also honoured by Chairman Naidu with a memento, while 17 members who have already retired/resigned in the year 2021-22 were also honoured.
While welcoming the dignitaries present on the occasion, Harivansh expressed his gratitude to the Chairman for offering to organize a farewell function at his residence. He said that the tradition of bidding farewell after every two years in honour of retired/retiring Members signifies the high regard of the Rajya Sabha accorded to such Members for rendering yeoman service and valuable contribution.
Chairman Naidu while giving his best wishes to all those who are retiring said he did not know the hidden talent of members.
"We had a wonderful cultural programme. I never knew they (MPs) had so much hidden talent," he told the members.
Some of the members retiring in April include deputy leader of the Congress Anand Sharma, A K Antony, Subramanian Swamy, M C Mary Kom and Swapan Dasgupta while the terms of Nirmala Sitharaman, Suresh Prabhu, M J Akbar, Jairam Ramesh, Vivek Tankha, V Vijayasai Reddy will end in June.
Among the members retiring in July are Piyush Goyal, Muktar Abbas Naqvi, P Chidambaram, Ambika Soni, Kapil Sibal, Satish Chandra Misra, Sanjay Raut, Praful Patel and K J Alphons.
While some Union ministers and BJP leaders will be renominated by the ruling party, there is no clarity on some renomination of the Congress members, some of whom are of the G-23 which has been critical of the party leadership.