Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari’s term comes to an end today and members of the Upper House are paying their tributes to the two-term vice-president, who presides over the proceedings.
Here are the highlights from the Rajya Sabha
1:00 pm: Ansari, while delivering his last speech in the House, said that “a decade is a long time in the life of an individual. An eminent leader, who is no longer in this world, gave me advice a day before I joined the House. He told me, “Kal k baad bht takleef hogi, apse hamdardi hai ki ap takleef ko jhel jae and ek salah bhi hai ki ham log chahe jitna bhi halla kare kabhi shakal pe mat dikhaeye. ham log desh k dushman ani hai aur ek muskaan pe fida ho jaate hai.” (You will be facing a lot of problems from tomorrow. You have all my sympathy for the pain you will have to endure in the House. My advice is to never let it reflect on your face even if you are angry, as members shout a lot. We are not traitors and even we love our country and a smile can solve everything). I discovered that wishing to be a friend is quick work but friendship is a slow ripening fruit. It needs to be nurtured. The chair is like an umpire in a cricket match, witnessing players, from where you can see it all. It’s only source of reference is its book. Democracy will become a tyranny if it doesn’t allow the opposition to question the government’s policy.”
12:00 pm: Ramdas Athawale invoked a poetry to praise Hamid Ansari. He said, ” You are going 10 year after uniting parties. You have won our heart and we feel sad to bid you farewell. You have passed so many bills in the House.” He spoke about B R Ambedkar and said that he has also worked without any partiality. Hope you will continue to work for the country.
11:47 am: Sitaram Yechury said that he finds it difficult to accept the conclusion. He added that he can only share with that he is greatly honoured to have worked with Ansari. He mentioned Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan and said that Ansari has contributed a lot and called him best empire in this house. You stood like a rock in defence in the interest of this House. “As you are leaving, the only regret I have is that we are still not settled.” I wish you continue to share your wisdom with us even after leaving.
11:35 am: Derek O’Brien also bid farewell to the Vice-President and spoke about things that no one in the House was aware of. He said, “It is my duty to share with the house some nuggets which many of us in the house do not know about you. For example, like how you do yoga every morning and go for a walk every evening. It makes you look so young. My colleagues will be surprised to know that you have not had lunch for the last 4o years. From a very reliable source I have got to know that you just have two sandwiches for lunch and probably that keeps you so fit. Did you know that he was a number 5 batsman, a wicket keeper also. You introduced cricket in Iran when you were an Ambassador and you have seven dogs.” He appreciated Ansari’s humourous nature and said that he is an inspiration for everyone.
11:25 am: Ram Gopal Verma said that everyone in the house is sad today. It is clear from the speeches by the members in the House that you are loved by everyone. I feel that you have fulfilled your duties as Chairman. He added that he has realised that the condition has gone down due to which you had to go through a lot of trouble and hard time. I wish for your health, he added to Ansari.
11.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Ansari is a career diplomat and has spent most part of his life in West Asia. “You have been a career diplomat, what it means I got to know when I became PM, observing you, I saw mannerisms of a career diplomat. In the last ten years, you have worked within the ambit of the Constitution… Ansariji leaves with great memories, his contribution has been important.”
11:10 am: Ghulam Nabi Azad bid farewell to Hamid Ansari. He said that since 1980, when he became an MP and the head of the youth organisation, he has seen Ansari as a successful “chief of protocol” along with Indira Gandhi. He addressed Ansari saying, “You have worked with many Embassies. You worked to take everyone in confidence to overcome the Kashmir issue and you submitted the report in 11 months. You are a scholar, a dignitary, a sports person and I hope now you will now get time to pursue your hobby to play golf. I appreciate the way you managed the House.”
11:00 am: Welcome to our live blog on the proceedings in the Rajya Sabha. Today marks an important occasion as the House bids farewell to Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who completes two five-year terms in office.
(With inputs from agencies)