BJP, Venkaiah Naidu dismiss Hamid Ansari's minority remark

Rajya Sabha bids farewell to Vice-President Dr Hamid Ansari

Feeling of unease, insecurity in Indian Muslims, says Hamid Ansari as his VP term ends, BJP hits back saying he wants a ‘political job’

He served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information and Broadcasting in Prime Minister Narendra Modi Government before he was nominated for the post of Vice President.

Ansari also spoke a lot about the functioning of Rajya Sabha, Africans in India, and his relationship with the two presidents and the two PMs he saw during his 10-year reign.

In his last address as the Vice-President, Hamid Ansari on Thursday said that democracy would turn into tyranny if opposition groups are not given the right to free criticism, adding that a democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minority. "There may have been some struggle within you (all these years) but from now onwards, you won't have to face this dilemma. You can act, think and talk according to your fundamental ideology", Modi said during Ansari's farewell, underlining that his ancestors were closely associated with the Congress. Ansari's long career as a diplomat also helped him to deal with different political parties and leaders easily, he added. "I hope you will continue to guide the nation in moving forward on the path laid down by the Constitution", he added, while joking that Ansari has kept himself physically fit.

Ansari, 80, was first elected Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman in 2007, when he defeated the NDA's candidate Najma Heptullah.

Ansari was heavily criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for abruptly adjourning the Rajya Sabha on December 30, 2011. He said Mr Ansari was "still the vice-president, and such remarks do not suit the dignity of his office". BJP member Dilipbhai Pandya and TMC member D Bandopadhyay also retired from the Upper House.

Asked about whether he agreed with the Muslim community assessment that they are apprehensive and feeling insecure as a result of the various comments made against them, Ansari answered in the affirmative. And hence the implication, that of course the BJP spelt out more directly, that Ansari could only be expected to be critical of the current environment and speak of the "insecurity" of the minorities in India.

Ansari's comments are hardly explosive, with the same views being expressed by different people on different platforms. He is credited with getting Rajya Sabha TV off the ground, with the hope that it would be an Indian PBS. Leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad praised Ansari for the way he conducted the proceedings of the House and recalled how he never used several honorary degrees that he got from different countries.

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