Sense of unease among Muslims in India: Hamid Ansari

Venkaiah Naidu sworn in as vice-president

When he was asked if he conveyed his apprehensions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said he had but didn't divulge any details. If you and I are standing together, then we can move together.

Further during his speech, Ansari compared the position of the Rajya Sabha chairman with an umpire or a referee and said, "The chair is like an umpire in Cricket or referee in Hockey, witnessing the play without becoming a player". "Yes. yes. But what passes between the vice-president and the prime minister in the nature of things must remain in the domain of privileged conversation", Ansari added. But from now onwards, you will not face that difficulty. "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. Your paternal grandfather as well as maternal grandfather happened to be presidents of Congress and also served as members of the Constituent Assembly.

Though Naidu did not name anyone, his comments are being seen as a response to Ansari, who told a government-run TV channel on Thursday that insecurity was creeping in among Muslims in India and that there was a breakdown of Indian values. He is still a vice-president and such comments do not suit his office's dignity.

"He is a highly intellectual and very principled individual who brings great clarity as well as depth to everything that he does", said Gurdeep Singh Sappal, officer on special duty to the vice president.

However, outside Parliament, the BJP leaders were unsparing in their attack on the outgoing VP for commenting on the country's situation.

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He said Ansari's past as a diplomat must have helped him in running the House. Many in the political circles saw PM's remarks on Ansari as significant, juxtaposing it with the resentment in BJP circles and even among allies like Shiv Sena.

"Yes it is a correct assessment", Ansari said when asked whether he agreed with the assessment that the Muslim community is apprehensive and that it was feeling insecure as a result of the kind of comments made against them.

The Rajya Sabha also bid farewell to Yechury, D Bandyopadhyay of TMC and Dilip Pandya of the BJP.

He also said that "a democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minorities". Recalling his long association and his first memories of Ansari, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad referred to their mutual love for golf. Now I think you will have time to play golf.

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