A sense of insecurity is creeping in among Muslims: Hamid Ansari

Hamid Ansari

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In an interview to Karan Thapar, outgoing Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari talks about a wide range of issues, including on cow vigilante attacks, lynchings and the mood of the Muslim community. The interview is scheduled to be broadcast by the Rajya Sabha TV at 8 pm on August 10, the last day of Ansari’s term. Full transcript of his interview with Karan Thapar:


Karan Thapar: Mr Vice-President, let me start with a rather unusual question – you were born on April Fool’s day in 1937. Is that the secret of your success?


Hamid Ansari: Well most of my life I got away without having to give a birthday party. And that tradition was broken only in my first birthday in this House, when a message came in the morning that Dr and Mrs Manmohan Singh would wish to come and wish you happy birthday. I couldn’t say no to that!


Karan Thapar: Now, you’ve spent 10 years as Vice-President, and as I said, no one has spent more time as Vice-President than that – what did it mean to you, a career diplomat, to be Vice-President of India?


Hamid Ansari: Well, I said right in the beginning that every citizen is in a sense, a political creature. But being in the thick of things was a new experience, a novel experience.


Karan Thapar: Did the protocol, did the prestige become inhibiting for someone who was quite a free bird? Or was it something that you were to accustomed to as a High Commissioner and as an Ambassador?


Modi’s farewell letter to ex-Prez Mukherjee: You have been a father figure

President Pranab Mukherjee with Prime Minister Narendra Modi


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written an emotional farewell letter to former President Pranab Mukherjee and said that he would always cherish the memory of working with him between 2014 and 2017.


The Prime Minister shared the letter on his Twitter handle with a caption, ‘Pranab Da, I will always cherish working with you.’


“As you begin a new phase of your distinguished journey, I cannot but express my profound sense of admiration and gratitude for your immense contribution to the nation, particularly as President of India over the last five years. You have inspired us with your simplicity, high principles and exemplary leadership,” the Prime Minister said in the letter.


In the letter, Prime Minister Modi thanked Pranab Mukherjee for being a “father figure” and a “mentor”.


“Three years ago, I came to New Delhi as an outsider. The task before me was huge and challenging. In these times, you have always been a father figure and a mentor to me. Your wisdom, guidance and personal warmth have given me greater confidence and strength,” he wrote.


The Prime Minister further said that despite supporting different political parties and at times having different ideologies they worked together with synergy because of Pranab Mukherjee’s ‘intellect and wisdom’.



Nitish Kumar to take oath as Bihar CM with BJP’s support at 10 am today

Nitish Kumar, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar


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Less than a day after resigning as Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar will take oath at 10 am on Thursday as the head of the government that will include BJP and its allies.


Kumar met Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi late on Wednesday with NDA leaders and staked claim to form a new government with the support of 132 MLAs.


Talking to the reporters after meeting the Governor, BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said that Nitish Kumar had been invited to take oath at 10 am on Thursday.


“We gave letters of support of 132 MLAs,” he said.


Sushil Modi said they had requested the trust vote should take place at the earliest.


Asked if meeting the Governor in late hours reflected a fear that some MLAs could leave and join the RJD-Congress alliance, Sushil Modi said: “others may have fear, not us.”


Sushil Modi said the letter of support had been given of MLAs belonging to JD-U, BJP, LJP, RLSP, HAM and two independents.


State BJP chief Nityanand Rai told reporters that Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi will take oath on Thursday.


Meanwhile, RJD, which had sought time to meet Governor to stake claim to form the government and was asked to meet him at 11 am, questioned the rationale of asking Nitish Kumar to take oath at 10 am.


“Governor gave us time of 11 am and now suddenly has asked NDA for oath ceremony at 10 am. Why so much hurry & rush Mr. Honest & Moral?” Tejashwi Yadav tweeted.


He said the Governor had initially asked Nitish Kumar to take oath at 5 pm on Thursday.


“Why is the Governor changing his decision in the night. The swearing is taking place at 10 am instead of 5 pm. We are going to Raj Bhavan. We are going to Governor house to stage the dharna if not called for being the single largest party.


“A Governor should act as custodian of constitution, not as Centre’s stooge. He can’t ignore single largest party and largest pre-poll alliance,” Tejashwi said.


He alleged that Nitish Kumar had gone to Raj Bhavan at midnight as half of JD-U MLAs were “in our touch”, he added.


“If Nitish Ji is proud of his moral values and honesty, he would not had been in midnight rush to stake claim for government. Honest man does not fear,” the RJD leader said.