Opposition should be allowed to freely criticise govt, says Ansari in his RS farewell speech
New Delhi, August 10: Out-going Vice President Hamid Ansari on Thursday addressed the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and said, democracy can turn into tyranny if there's no criticism.
While addressing for the last time as the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Ansari said, "Democracy can become tyranny if Opposition is not allowed to criticise the government policies. He also left a message for the minorities. Ansari said that it is important to protect minorities. The chair is like an umpire in cricket or referee in hockey, witnessing the play without becoming a player said Ansari on his last working day as the chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
''Rajya Sabha is not a stumbling block, I hope I succeeded in being fair,'' said Ansari in his parting shot as he recited Urdu couplets and bid adieu amid a standing ovation from all members.
On the last day of his decade-long tenure as the vice-president of India and the Upper House chairman, Ansari also stressed that Rajya Sabha was the creation of the Constitution that portrays Indian diversity.
Ansari said that the chair was like an umpire in cricket or a referee in a hockey match, witnessing the play and the players but without becoming a player. "It's only source of reference is the book of rules," he said. "This House is a creation of the Constitution and reflective of the wisdom and foresight of the founding fathers who wished it to portray India's diversity and to be a calibrated restraint on hasty legislation.
Rajya Sabha members laud Ansari's role as Rajya Sabha Chairman
Earlier, the Rajya Sabha heaped lavish praises on Chairman Hamid Ansari, who relinquishes office after a decade, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior members lauding him for upholding constitutional norms. Praising Vice President Ansari, Modi said the Chairman did his best to uphold the Constitution.
The Vice President is the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
Giving his farewell to outgoing vice-president Hamid Ansari, PM Narendra Modi said, "We have learnt a lot from you. You have been a career diplomat and worked day and night for the betterment of the country. Your contribution has been invaluable."
"I have great respect for you and have keenly observed the great work done by you. I wish you good health and a long life and may all your endeavors here on be as successful as your tenure as the Vice President. On behalf of both the Houses - Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha - as well as the people of India, I thank you for your immense contribution and wish you all the best." he said.
He also mentioned that the end of the tenure will be liberating for the politician in him. "I'm sure you may have experienced some unease on your disability to react as a politician on several matters. After the end of your tenure you are free such obligations," he said.
Your diplomatic insights were invaluable, especially when I discussed with you before and after my bilateral visits: PM Modi to VP Ansari— ANI (@ANI) August 10, 2017
Not so far behind, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, became emotional in his farewell speech and said, "It is with a heavy heart today that we bid farewell to you. You have been a guiding light for all of us. You were the most successful Chief of Protocol to PM Indira Gandhi once."
"I remember the first time I met you when you were the ambassador in Saudi Arabia and later when you were the VC at Aligarh University. It has been my pleasure to be able to work with you." he added.
Speaking further, Azad said, "We all know how difficult it is to work out solution in Jammu and Kashmir. But in only 11 months you listened to all sides and gave a report on confidence building measures on the Kashmir issue. I hope your advice is taken forward even after your tenure ends."
Adding a personal touch, he said "You have not only been a statesman, but also a sportsman. You play golf and I have had the opportunity to play a few times with you. Now I think you will get more time to pursue your hobby."
Members recounted Hamid Ansari's contribution in the House and said they were grateful that he set the precedent of not passing a Legislation in Din. Other members of Rajya Sabha, including leaders like CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and Tam Gopal Verma thanked Ansari for observing strictly a very important rule by not allowing a legislation to be passed when the House was not in order.
"You are the best umpire that this House could have had, I hope that this precedent is continued to be observed by those who follow you into the Chair," Yechury said.
Yechury also appreciated of Ansari's initiative of starting the Rajya Sabha TV channel.
'Sandwich world record'
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien told the House that Ansari does Yoga and routinely goes for evening walks to maintain good health. He said Ansari has been eating sandwiches at lunch for the past 40 years and it "must be a world record".