Underlining the need for having “activist” Presidents in India, former Union minister and senior Congress leader Manish Tewari on Wednesday said former Vice-President Hamid Ansari should have commiserated with the family of Mohd Ikhlaq, the victim of Dadri lynching, and that former President Pranab Mukherjee should not have allowed the dismissal of the then Uttarakhand government led by Harish Rawat before the floor test.
Tewari was interacting with a panel of experts and audience during the Chandigarh launch of his second book, Tidings of the Troubled Times.
He said: “I have the greatest personal regard for Hamid Ansari. He had very kindly delivered the memorial oration for my father in this auditorium. Ansari, when he demitted the office of VP of India, said minorities in this country were feeling insecure. He gave a long interview. My contention was the minorities’ insecurity did not start today. It started when Mohd Ikhlaq was actually lynched before Bihar polls… as V-P, Ansari could have actually gone and commiserated with the family or maybe stood up in some other manner. I think it would have sent a very salutary signal to the government which unfortunately is completely insensitive on these issues.”
“There are only two people or two institutions which actually swear an oath to protect the Constitution. The President of India and Governors of various states. Therefore, where constitutional values come under assault, Presidents are expected to stand up. When the Uttarakhand government was dismissed, possibly the then President Pranab Mukherjee should have held his (the then CM’s hand) instead of allowing that dismissal to go through,” Tewari said.
The discussion was moderated by Resident Editor of The Indian Express Nirupama Subramanian. Prof S K Sharma, Professor Emeritus, Panjab University, was the guest of honour.