August 10, 2017
Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien speaks during farewell to retiring members
Retiring members who are coming back will get their chance to speak six years from now. Today we talk about the retired members who are not coming back. It’s about three of our colleagues who are leaving us. And I will go alphabetically.
I first say goodbye to my colleague Debabrata Bandyopadhyay, from the All India Trinamool Congress, who we fondly know as Debu da. All of you mentioned about his punctuality and his commitment. In fact, in the party he is not known as Debabrata Bandyopadhyay; he is known as D for Discipline Bandyopadhyay. The great learning from someone like Debu da, who has held every administrative position in his bureaucratic career, is that whenever he leaves the House, if the Leader of the House is not there, if the Chief whip is there, he will never leave this House without seeking permission. I think this is a wonderful example he sets and very often my colleagues and I get embarrassed with that.
Debu da’s biggest achievement is a political achievement actually. Debu da, which people do not know, was one of the biggest players in the Singur movement who worked with Mamata Banerjee. His inputs on land reforms, his inputs on ‘Operation Barga’ before that, right up to 2005 and 2006 when we are on the highway, Debu da used to always come with a straw hat and insisted that he would not sit down; he would always stand.
Debu da you have not only shown us in Bengal, but I think the whole country, no matter how you go in your bureaucratic life, when you come to Parliament, we learnt so much from you, the humility.
Then alphabetically Dilipbhai Pandya. I spent most time with him not outside the House or in the House, but in between in the lobby. Very soft spoken, he would always come to me. Even though my Hindi is very bad I would try and converse with him but I don’t know whether he took me seriously or thought I was a part of comedy show. So we say a fond goodbye to them.
Sir, the third person – it is said that you save the best for the last. When I came here six years ago, I looked at Mr Sitaram Yechury as a political rival, and still do. We, the Trinamool, and the CPI(M) – there couldn’t be two forces which are so apart. But I have to say this – even the best supporters, the die-hard supporters of Manchester United, when they know there’s a good striker for Tottenham Hotspur, they still acknowledge that there’s a very good striker for Tottenham Hotspur.
Mr Yechury, we are ideologically very very far apart, but I must say, even my daughter noted, that I’m beginning to look like you since I stopped dyeing my hair. So I should also be a little careful so I don’t get into trouble.
This is the great democracy we live in, where a party like the CPI(M) – who we fought bitterly, and still do, for so many years – and a party like the Trinamool Congress are just one aisle, three foot, apart. That is the beauty of our great democracy.
I wish Debu da, Dilipbhai and Mr Yechury all the very best in their future endeavours. I am glad to tell you that Mr Yechury and I have something in common, which I only got to know a few days ago. He is doing a book; I am also doing a book, and just by the quirk of coincidence, we both went to the same publisher, that too an American publisher.
So I’ll leave you with that, and good luck with your (Yechury) book, even though I completely disagree with the title of his forthcoming memoir, which is called The Left is Always Right.