Hamid Ansari gets a grand farewell

Vice President Vice President Venkaiah Naidu Venkaiah Naidu Trinamool Congress Derek O'Brienacronym Rajya Sabha Naidu Now All India's Dearest Umpire Mamata Banerjee

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also leader of the House, said it was "a nostalgic occasion" to bid farewell to Ansari "after completing 10 years as a very distinguished chairperson of this House". Appointed as a consensus candidate of the Congress and the Left--although there were many in the Congress who took potshots at him even then--Ansari was not known to all, who saw in him little more than a retired diplomat.

As vice president, Ansari served as chairman of the Rajya Sabha and presided over the functioning of the upper house.

Former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh described Mr Ansari as friend, philosopher and guide and said his statesmanship guided the country for a long time. "There may have been some struggle within you (all these years) but from now onwards, you won't have to face this dilemma. You will also feel free and work, think and speak according to your core thinking", Modi said, reported IANS. "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.

In his parting interview to Rajya Sabha TV, Ansari also pointed out alleged failure of law enforcing agencies, seen as a reference to growing incidents of mob lynchings over cow smuggling.

Yesterday, Naidu took on Ansari over his remarks that there was unease and a sense of insecurity among minorities across the country.

Hussain said that there is no better country for Muslims than India dismissing Ansari's claims that there is unease amongst the community.

In an apparent reference to Ansari, Vice President-elect M Venkaiah Naidu rejected as "political propaganda" the view that there is a sense of insecurity among minorities.

Responding to a question on comments made by some BJP leaders related to minorities, he said he would not talk about political people or political parties.

The vice-president-elect maintained that "history has proved there is no discrimination against minorities". He is still the vice president and such comments do not suit his office's dignity. Modi said that Ansari was leaving behind "great memories" and his "contributions have been important". You were amidst same kind of environment, thoughts and debates of same kind of people. "Your insight gave me insight to understand things beyond their visual aspect", said Modi praising Ansari's tenure.

The farewell speech by PM Modi in the Rajya Sabha was perhaps the most direct in stating the core belief that there is no space for dissent today.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, welcoming Naidu, observed that the Chair symbolises justice and neutrality.

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