Insight: BJP leaders slam Hamid Ansari for his 'Muslim unease' comment

Move beyond files and go to the field to understand ground realities PM told collectors

Modi hinted at his disdain for Ansari's background while noting that the latter's grandfathers "happened to be presidents of Congress", that his family "had been closely involved with Congress as well as the Khilafat movement" and that "most" of his "tenure as career diplomat was spent in West Asia".

Ansari, 80, was first elected Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman in 2007, when he defeated the NDA's candidate Najma Heptullah. He was given farewell in the Rajya Sabha by its members, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues.

NCP member Majeed Memon said that managing children in a primary school or kindergarten may not be as hard as handling the House but Ansari always managed to do an exceptional job. 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.

PM Modi added that Dr Ansari's diplomatic insights were invaluable, especially when he used to hold discussions before and after his bilateral visits across the world. By browbeating Ansari, the BJP has only proved his point. Ansari has also served as India's ambassador to several countries, was India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations and also vice-chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University.

"You have been a career diplomat, what it means I got to know when I became the Prime Minister".

However Ansari has made it clear over his final days in office that he will not be cowed down. A democracy is likely to degenerate into tyranny if it does not allow the opposition groups to criticise fairly, freely and frankly the policies of the government. Ansari had in an interview said "ambience of acceptance" of minorities is under threat.

This house is a creation of the constitution and reflecting of the foresight and wisdom of the founding fathers who wished to portray India's diversity. "You had experiences in various fields of public life".

There have also been a spate of deadly attacks against atheist thinkers who campaigned against religious superstitions after Modi's government came to power in 2014. Ansari had said this at the annual convocation of the National Law School of India University in Bengaluru. "Unity in the diversity is India's speciality".

He said that when his term started ten years ago, an eminent leader had advised him to keep his calm during the chaos in the Rajya Sabha and the suggestion served to be useful.

India's vice-president has been getting fire from a number of leaders belonging to the ruling Modi-led Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) over his comments that Muslims in the country feel "unease, a sense of insecurity", reported Times of India.

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