New Delhi : Members in the Rajya Sabha, who will be retiring over the next few weeks, cut across party lines to stress the need for drawing a ‘lakshman rekha’ to protect the dignity of the House while pushing for having meaningful debates on people’s issues.

In their farewell speeches on Wednesday, the members also expressed concern over falling standards of parliamentary debates and emphasised that instead of personal attacks, the larger issues afflicting the people should occupy the centre stage.

Around 60 MPs from 17 states in the Upper House are retiring over next few weeks, including prominent members like Deputy Chairman P J Kurien and nominated members actor Rekha and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. While most of them retire on April 2, some of them will end their tenure in July.

In his speech, Rajiv Shukla (Congress) said there could be differences of opinion among members of various political parties but there is no place for acrimony and personal enmity.

Harivansh (JD-U) stressed the need for meaningful debates in the House like those witnessed during the times of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other stalwarts.

“All issues can be sorted out. We need to find the way. Then we can be called Elders,” he said, associating with the anguish expressed by Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on the deteriorating standards of Parliament. Former minister and NCP leader Praful Patel said a ‘lakshman rekha’ needs to be drawn in terms of conduct in the House. He said his party has never gone into the Well of the House or caused any disruption in the proceedings either. Tapan Kumar Sen CPI(M), Senior BSP leader Satish Chandra Misra, Vivek Gupta (TMC), Anand Bhaskar Rapolu (Congress), La Ganesan (BJP), DMK’s Kanimozhi, A U Singh Deo (BJD), Naresh Agarwal, Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) , Derek O’ Brien (TMC) and others also expressed their opinions.

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