Ansari gets bouquets from Modi, brickbats from PM’s supporters on last day as VP

Vice President M. Hamid Ansari in a file photo. Source: PIB

The PM’s supporters came down heavily on Ansari for his comments on the atmosphere of intolerance and the feeling of insecurity among Indian Muslims.

PM Narendra Modi showered praises on out-going Vice President Hamid Ansari on Thursday, but others in the ruling party weren’t as kind. Leaders from the BJP, RSS and VHP strongly criticised the two-time VP for his comments in interviews about intolerance.

“He (Ansari) is speaking like a Muslim politician who wants to divide the country just like Jinnah,” Surendra Jain, general secretary of the VHP, said.

Describing Ansari’s comments as “shameful”, Jain added, “He was not addressing the nation but a certain community to which he belongs.”

Jain said that it was the Hindu community that was feeling anxious.

“In Karnataka, the population of Muslims is 13 percent and yet in two years, 13 Hindus have been killed. Kanwarias were attacked at five places, and Durga puja was stalled at 35 places in West Bengal,” he said.

Ansari in an interview to Rajya Sabha TV – of which he is ex-officio chairperson –had said that the ambience of acceptance in India is currently under threat. He said there was a feeling of unease and insecurity among Muslim citizens of the country.

RSS ideologue Rakesh Sinha also countered the comments saying that Ansari’s observations were divorced from reality.

“If he  was offered the presidential nomination by the BJP , would he have said the same thing or would he have declined because in his opinion, Muslims are unsafe,” Sinha asked ThePrint in an email.

“He lacks a progressive and constructive social philosophy and his individual perception can’t be construed as that of the community,” he said.

The RSS ideologue said stray incidents couldn’t be grounds to declare Muslims unsafe and Ansari’s comments legitimise those who preach divisive identity politics.

Ansari’s remarks were representative of a form of communalism which was propagated by elites purely for honour and positions, Sinha alleged.

While BJP MPs from the treasury benches had joined the prime minister in greeting Ansari on his last day in office, the party’s IT cell attacked him for allegedly speaking only for the Muslim community.

“Ansari has reduced himself to a spokesman for his community rather than the Vice-President of all of India. And this is not the first time…” Amit Malviya, who’s in-charge of the BJP’s IT cell, tweeted on Wednesday in response to Ansari’s comments.

“Hamid Ansari on regressive practice of Triple Talaq… Except for the English, the content can put a Mullah to shame,” he said in a second tweet.

BJP MP Shahnawaz Hussain said that there was no better country than India for Muslims and there was no better friend for them than Hindus.

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