Outgoing VP Hamid Ansari speaks on minorities, democracy in his last RS address

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New Delhi [India], August 10 (ANI): 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. "A democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minority. Democracy is likely to degenerate into a tyranny if it does not allow the opposition groups to criticise freely and frankly the policies of the government. But at the same time, the minorities have also their responsibilities," he said, quoting former president Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan during his farewell speech at the Rajya Sabha. Further during his speech, Ansari compared the position of the 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." "The Rajya Sabha is not a stumbling block. I hope I succeeded in being fair," he said. "When I was welcomed in this House 10 years back, an eminent leader, no longer with us in this world, gave me a piece of advice and I quote him, 'You will be in pain after tomorrow. You have my sympathy that you should be able to bear this pain. I have an advice to you. However disruptive we are, don't get angry even for a moment. Always have a smile on your face'." Ansari called an end to his 10-year stint as the Rajya Sabha Chairman with an Urdu couplet, "Aao ki aaj khatm karein daastaan-e-ishq, abb khatm-e-ashiqui ke fasaane sunayein hum." (Let's now end our love story, we will now tell the story of end of our love affair.) On a related note, in his last interview on Wednesday, before demitting the office, Ansari said that the Muslims in the country were experiencing a "feeling of unease." "A sense of insecurity is creeping in as a result of the dominant mood created by some and the resultant intolerance and vigilantism," Ansari said, in an interview to Rajya Sabha TV. He referred to incidents of lynching and alleged killings as a "breakdown of Indian values, breakdown of the ability of the authorities at different levels in different places to be able to enforce what should be normal law enforcing work and over all the very fact that Indianness of any citizen being questioned is a disturbing thought." Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today, paid tribute to the contribution of the outgoing vice-president, saying, "Your diplomatic insights were invaluable, especially when I discussed with you before and after my bilateral visits. You have been a career diplomat, I got to know when I became the prime minister. Observing you, I saw mannerisms of a career diplomat." "You belong to a great family that participated in the freedom movement. I have special regards, good wish from my side to you," he added. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad termed Ansari as the chief of protocol several times. "We all will miss you. We will always miss you as the Chair of the House. We wish you good health and good luck for future. I wish him all the best. Hamid Ansari leaves us with great memories," said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Praising Ansari for his work and contribution, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, "You were known as the best empire in this house." Former Union Minister and veteran BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu will assume the office of the Vice President of India on Friday. Alongside, he will also be the Chairman of Rajya Sabha. (ANI)