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Former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday heaped praise on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and called him a ‘statesman’. Azad, who quit Congress last year and formed his own political outfit Democratic Progressive Azad Party, also called Modi ‘too generous’.

“I must give credit to Modi. For what I did to him, he was too generous. As Leader of the Opposition I did not spare him on any issue be it Article 370 or CAA or hijab. I got some Bills totally failed but I must give him the credit that he behaved like a statesman, not taking revenge for that,” Azad said.

Azad resigned from Congress in August 2022 following a difference of opinion with the party leadership.

Soon after he quit the Congress, several party leaders recalled PM Modi’s lavish praise in his emotional speech in Parliament during Azad’s farewell from Rajya Sabha to allege some sort of agenda.

A former leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, Azad also slammed those who could not differentiate between farewell speeches and a routine one, saying their political acumen is “questionable at best”.

Referring to Azad’s scathing resignation letter, Congress Media Department Chairman Pawan Khera had attacked the former Union minister, saying, “We have seen the love between Modi and Azad, it was also seen in the Parliament. That love has been manifested in this letter.”

In the interview on the eve of his book launch “Azaad — an autobiography”, the former Union minister said his good relations with the prime minister dated back to the period when he was a general secretary of the BJP.

Azad, who retired from the Rajya Sabha on February 15, 2021, said that there were 20 speakers who spoke on his farewell day which included the prime minister.

Asked that immediately after Modi’s speech he was dubbed as an agent of the BJP, he said, “That is insulting. That means that the brains of some people are polluted. Only people with polluted brains can say such things.”

In his book, Azad speaks about his tenure as leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha and says this period gave him an opportunity to understand the prime minister both inside the house and outside.

“As LoP, I tried my best to raise issues of social, political, and economic importance, and confronted the PM and his colleagues every time on the floor of the House, but he never reacted to the harsh words I used against his government’s performance. I found him to be a great listener with a capacity to tolerate criticism,” said Azad, adding he opposed the government on Article 370, CAA, and hijab

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