My decision to refuse Rajya Sabha membership not political: Pranav Pandya

New Delhi: Pranav Pandya, who refused to become a member of the Rajya Sabha after being nominated, has said it was a "non-political" decision and he has "deep respect" for parliament's upper house. Pandya, who heads the All World Gayatri Pariwar, said he was "not comfortable with the idea of becoming a member in the Rajya Sabha" but had initially accepted the offer because he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi went back a long way. "I am an apolitical person. Nobody in my family discusses politics. I have deep respect (for the house) but we must not discuss petty politics there," Pandya told IANS in an interview. Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari on Friday announced that he had accepted Pandya's resignation. When the house met for the day, Ansari said he had on May 9 received a letter from Pandya in this regard. "I have accepted his resignation with effect from May 11, 2016," Ansari said. Pandya also dismissed rumours that he did not accept the Rajya Sabha offer because he was close to the Congress party. "That's not true. I had to refuse the offer politely as I thought I would be able to serve people better from outside," he said, adding that his father-in-law was very close to Mahatma Gandhi. "But that does not mean I am close to the Congress," he said. Pandya also said that it was "embarrassing" to say no to the offer, but that couldn't be helped. Asked what he thought should be changed about the upper house, Pandya said: "They must not talk loud and must talk sense." Expressing his reservations on the way things are discussed or not discussed in the house, he said the members must always keep people's interest in mind and should not indulge in petty politics. "The upper house is like the House of Lords. There are important issues that the country is facing. They must discuss them and find solutions," he said, adding that the crisis due to drought in many parts of the country demands serious discussion by parliamentarians. "I want them to be transformed, their intellect to be transformed," he said, adding that India, as the world's largest democracy, should act like one. President Pranab Mukherjee had on May 4 nominated Pandya, an MD in medicine, to the Rajya Sabha on the Narendra Modi government's recommendation. Pandya rejected the offer, saying the atmosphere in the upper house of parliament was not "conducive" for him. The president nominates 12 members drawn from fields such as literature, science, sports, arts and social service on the advice of the union government and they generally serve a six-yer term.