Ansari felicitated in RS on 2nd term as VP

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today led the Rajya Sabha in felicitating Hamid Ansari on his second term as Vice President and Chairman of the House saying his re-election was a tribute to his qualities.

When the House met for the day, Prime Minister stood up to felicitate and congratulate Ansari, who took oath as the Vice President for his second term on Saturday.

"In you we have a distinguished personality who has served the country in diverse fields…you have served the country with great distinction," Singh said referring to Ansari`s illustrious career as a diplomat and academician.

He said in all the roles given to him, Ansari has "served the country with great distinction."

"That you have been chosen for a second term, is a tribute to your qualities," he said.

Singh said it was "good fortune" that Ansari has been presiding over the Upper House. "Our government will extend fullest possible cooperation in smooth functioning of the House," he said.

As Ansari`s family watched from visitor`s gallery, leaders from all parties heaped praise on his illustrious career, his simplicity and the most dignified manner in which he conducted the House during the past five years.

Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said Ansari had a record of public service before he assumed the office of Vice President for the first time five years ago.

Ansari occupying the Vice President`s post for the second time "adds to dignity of the office," he said.

"It requires both art and science in administering and running the House," he said adding Ansari had given space to every kind of opinion.

Jaitley said he admired Ansari`s quality of giving opportunity to every member to express his opinion in the House as well as in his chamber and his ability to ease tension.

Ansari`s speeches are "best recorded documents" on varied subjects in contemporary times, he said.

Responding to the felicitations, Ansari said the honour bestowed upon him, of being called upon to shoulder the responsibility a second time, "is doubly humbling".

"I accept it in all humility and shall endeavor to live up to your expectations to the fullest extent possible," he said.

Ansari said the House has been entrusted with legislative and deliberative responsibilities by the Constitution. "The transition in public mood from passive receptivity to active quest, in quantitative and qualitative terms, is real and urgent. Our responses, consequently, have to encapsulate these emerging trends in public perceptions," he said.

He said this would necessitate closer and longer deliberations to ensure greater accountability on the one hand and, on the other, a sharper awareness of the changing requirements in legislation.

"This House can, and must, attend to both meaningfully," Ansari said adding time has produced a deepening of the democratic process and it has also opened up numerous points of dissent.

"The latter necessitates democratic accommodation. Such accommodation and adjustment is produced through focused discussion which must remain the creed and dharma of the House," Ansari said.

The Chairman said democratic practice allows room for discussion as well as agitation, neither, however, should intrude upon the space earmarked for the other.

Earlier, Brijesh Pathak (BSP) said Ansari gave equal opportunity to all members to raise issues and his second term as Vice President will add a new chapter in India`s history.

Prasanta Chatterjee (CPI-M) said the entire country considers Parliament as most scared institution and members are duty bound to raise problems facing the people. "Even 65 years after Independence, the country faces hundreds of problems… blackmoney is ruling the economy," he said.

Shivanand Tiwari (JD-U) described Ansari as most impartial. Derek O`Brien (TMC) said Ansari is the second person after S Radhakrishnan to have been elected as Vice President for two terms.

Both Radhakrishnan and Ansari, he said, have Kolkata connection – the former was a professor at St Xavier`s College while the later studied there.

Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) wished that Ansari reaches the highest post in the country and becomes the President one day.

T Siva (DMK) said Ansari is a person of high calibre and constructive statesmanship, who is held in high esteem, while Tariq Anwar (NCP) said Ansari`s simplicity had impacted people both inside and outside the House.

Baishanb Parida (BJD) said the second term will add a new chapter to Ansari`s illustrious career.

V Maitreyan (AIADMK) said he had the unique distinction of being the only member to have been suspended for a day during Ansari`s five-year tenure.

In the second term, Ansari should consider giving more time and space to regional parties and smaller groups, he said. "Please give us more time and attention," he pleaded.

Senior minister and NC leader Farooq Abdullah, Ravi Shankar Prasad (BJP) and Prem Chand Gupta (RJD) also felicitated Ansari.

Ashok S Ganguly (Nom) said Ansari dealt with disruptions in the House firmly, while D Raja (CPI) said he ensured fair deal to all the members and parties.

Birendra Prasad Baishya (AGM) said Ansari was like a "neutral cricket umpire".

H K Dura (Nom) said Ansari gave chance to every shade of opinion. S S Dhindsa (SAD) asked the Chairman to give more time to smaller parties so that they can express their views in the House.

Rajeev Shukla (Cong) said it was a matter of pride that all members of the House have lauded Ansari.

Rama Jois (BJP), Najma Heptulla (BJP), Ahmad Saeed Malihabadi (Ind), K Rahman Khan (Cong), Jaya Bachchan (SP), Naznin Faruque (Cong) and Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP) too congratulated Ansari on his second term.