On his last working day, Vice-President Hamid Ansari’s remark triggers row.
Ansari said there’s a sense of insecurity among Muslims.
Ansari’s tenure as Vice-President was mired in controversy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a left-handed compliment to outgoing Vice-President Hamid Ansari. He returned in the same coin the Rajya Sabha Chairperson’s assertion that there was a feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity among Muslims in the country.
While bidding Ansari farewell in the Rajya Sabha today, PM Modi said the former remained a prisoner of his thought for a major part of his life. “A major portion of your (Ansari’s) career as a diplomat was associated with West Asia. You spent several years of your life within such confines, atmosphere, thought process, debates and amidst such people,” he said.
– Akhilesh Mishra (@amishra77) August 10, 2017
ANSARI ‘LIMITED’ VISION
The PM said, even after retiring, most of Ansari’s works were similar, whether in the Minorities Commission or the Aligarh Muslim University. “Your scope remained limited,” he said.
Noting that Ansari got a different responsibility as the vice-president in which he had to function totally as per the tenets of the Constitution. “Though you made maximum efforts to fulfil your responsibilities, perhaps there must have been some restlessness within you,” the PM said.
PM Modi also told Ansari since his tenure is coming to an end, he will no longer have to face that crisis and that he will also get an opportunity to enjoy freedom to think, debate and work in accordance with his fundamental thought process.
However, Modi also appreciated Vice President Hamid Ansari, saying that it reflected his skill, patience and intellect, to be able to function as Chairman of the Rajya Sabha for 10 years, where one has to be calm in all situations.
Earlier, Ansari had raked up another controversy today, a day before retiring, by stating there was a feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity among Muslims in the country.
In an interview aired on Rajya Sabha TV today, Ansari asserted that the “ambience of acceptance” of Muslims was now under threat.
Unlike Ansari, a former Indian Foreign Officer (IFS), who was blunt when he said the Muslims felt insecure, PM Modi made an oblique reference to the former’s limited thought process.
While criticising Ansari’s selective approach towards issues, Modi obviously indicated the 81-year-old politician’s expertise on West Asia and the Middle East.
Having joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1961, Hamid Ansari served in various diplomatic missions for 40 years. He worked as Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, among other countries.
He specialises in regional conflicts and has written books on the Middle East politics and conflicts.
His notable publications include Iran Today: Twenty Five Years After the Islamic Revolution; Travelling Through Conflict: Essays on the Politics of West Asia; and Teasing Questions: Exploring Disconnects in Contemporary India.
After returning to India, Ansari became vice-chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University in 2000 and served on the post till March, 2002. He was actively involved in ensuring compensation to the Gujarat riots victims and pushing for revisiting the relief and rehabilitation for all the riot victims since 1984.
In 2006, the outgoing vice-president was appointed as the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM). But, he resigned as a year later, he was nominated for the post of Vice-President during the Congress-led UPA government.
CONTROVERSIES SURROUNDING ANSARI
Ansari’s tenure as Vice-President was mired in controversy on three issues. He abruptly adjourned the Rajya Sabha in December 30, 2011, the last day of Parliament’s winter session. This happened when a discussion was taking place on the Jan Lokpal Bill in the wake of the Anna Hazare movement.
On PM Modi’s initiative, the UN declared June 21 as International Yoga Day. More than 190 countries celebrated the first Yoga Day in 2015. The day was observed with much fanfare by the government. The then President Pranab Mukherjee had Yoga Day observed in Rashtrapati Bhavan. However, Ansari never took part in the Yoga Day celebrations in the last three years.
On Republic Day 2015, Ansari courted controversy for not saluting the national flag when it was hoisted, and the national anthem was being sung at Rajpath. Alongside Mukherjee and Modi, then visiting US president Barack Obama (who was the chief guest at the parade), US First Lady Michelle Obama and then defence minister Manohar Parrikar, Ansari was seen standing at attention.
Though protocol demanded only the President to salute the flag, both Modi and Parrikar were seen doing that. But Ansari stood still.
Besides these, Mukherjee bid adieu to his office last month in a dignified manner. PM Modi wrote an emotional letter to him on his last day in office. However, Ansari would be remembered for raking controversy on his last day in office.