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PM Modi's jibe at Hamid Ansari proves he is the commander of troll-brigade: Opposition

Charu Kartikeya | Updated on: 11 August 2017, 17:09 IST

It is a measure of how much former Vice-President Hamid Ansari's comments stung the dispensation. A person of no less a stature than the Prime Minister couldn't resist taking jibes at the Vice President on the solemn occasion of the latter's farewell. By his concealed attacks on Ansari, Modi proved that he is the ultimate source of the nastiness displayed by pro-Sangh Parivar trolls on social media. It must be remembered that Ansari has been one of their pet targets.

All that Ansari did was to flag the prevailing insecurity among minorities in the country. He was asked if he felt that Muslims felt unwanted in India and he categorically replied that he “would not go that far”. However, he added, that there was “a sense of insecurity”.

“It is a correct assessment (Of Muslims feeling apprehensive and insecure), from all I hear from different quarters, the country; I heard the same thing in Bangalore, I have heard from other parts of the country, I hear more about in north India, there is a feeling of unease, a sense of insecurity is creeping in,” was all he said. The comments reinforced the view aired by him days earlier while delivering the convocation address at the 25th Annual Convocation of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru.

At NLSIU, Ansari had said that that there were “enhanced apprehensions of insecurity among segments of our citizen body, particularly Dalits, Muslims and Christians”. It is clear that his public defence of minorities was too much for the government and the governing party to digest.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha during the farewell address for Ansari, Modi said for the last 10 years, Ansari “must have been restless at times, chafing at constraints. But now that you have been liberated, you will have the happy feeling of freedom and you will get an opportunity to work, think and talk according to your basic ideology and instinct”.

Modi hinted at his disdain for Ansari's background while noting that the latter's grandfathers “happened to be presidents of Congress”, that his family “had been closely involved with Congress as well as the Khilafat movement” and that “most” of his “tenure as career diplomat was spent in West Asia. The PM left nothing to imagination in his “other-isation” of Muslims, saying that Ansari spent several years in “that” circle.

“You were amidst same kind of environment, thoughts and debates of same kind of people. Even after retirement your work involved similar issues, whether in the minority commission or at AMU”, he continued. Modi's comments have not gone down well with Opposition leaders, many of whom have hit out at the PM for taking digs at Ansari and exposing his own inclinations in that process.

Speaking to Catch, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said, “I am glad that Modi has realised that Hamid Ansari's core beliefs are those of the Indian civilisation itself, whereas Modi's core beliefs are the exact opposite”. Aiyar said Modi's beliefs are “a negation of everything that India has stood for, for over 5000 years”. “This is a back-handed compliment to Ansari that he is a true Indian whereas Modi is a daft and perverted Indian” he added.

Expressing dismay at the PM's comments, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Jha told Catch, “The VP in his speech had only paraphrased the views and sentiments of Mahatma Gandhi that a true democracy is one where the weak and the vulnerable groups feel protected”. He felt Ansari's words were a “piece of advice to the regime in view of Rohith Vemula, Una, Saharanpur, Junaid and such endless episodes”

“Rather than listening to it with intent, if it has caused discomfiture to the PM, it only reminds us of the sorry state we have arrived at collectively,” Jha also noted. He added that “the prime minister's jibe on a person like Hamid Ansari only confirms our worst fear with respect to the arrival of a totalitarian state which considers every sane voice as the voice of the enemy”.

CPI(M)'s MP (Lok Sabha) Mohammad Salim said that the “PM's potshots at Ansari have given credence to the troll-brigade that has been attacking opponents of the regime for 3 years now”. He said, “We had been complaining about the abuse mounted by these trolls on social media so far but we didn't know where they were getting their motivation from”.

“It is clear now who the commander of this brigade is,” Salim said, noting that this was “never expected from a person holding such a high office”.

First published: 11 August 2017, 17:09 IST
 
Charu Kartikeya @CharuKeya

Assistant Editor at Catch, Charu enjoys covering politics and uncovering politicians. Of nine years in journalism, he spent six happily covering Parliament and parliamentarians at Lok Sabha TV and the other three as news anchor at Doordarshan News. A Royal Enfield enthusiast, he dreams of having enough time to roar away towards Ladakh, but for the moment the only miles he's covering are the 20-km stretch between home and work.

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