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Outgoing VP statement rakes up intolerance debate again

Last Modified Thursday, 10 August 2017 (11:35 IST)
New Delhi: The outgoing has flayed the manner some politicians and leaders have spoken about being synonymous with 'identity of India' or about beef eating and said such statements only reflected "ignorance" and that such a person would not fit into the framework that India has always prided. "I will not talk about political people or political parties, but to me every time such a comment appeared or came to my knowledge; I mean my first reaction was that, A: the person is ignorant, B: that he is prejudiced and C: he does not fit into the framework that India has always prided to itself on, which is to be accommodative society," Mr Ansari told Karan Thapar in an interview for Rajya Sabha TV, when asked about recent controversial comments of some RSS leaders, BJP ministers and Chief Ministers on and Hinduvta. It will be telecast tomorrow evening.

In the interview dealing with wide range of issues, Mr Ansari was asked pointedly, how "as a Muslim" he felt about such statements. Answering questions on various issues including like the ones debated fiercely like 'tolerance', Mr Ansari said, "Tolerance is a good virtue, but it is not a sufficient virtue, and therefore you have to take the next step and go from tolerance to acceptance". He further said: ".........why do we talk about tolerance.... Because you feel the need to tolerate something which may not entirely be to your scheme of things".
To a question on how he found the new President Ram Nath Kovind, who came to the high office just about a fortnight ago, Mr Ansari described the new incumbent at the Rashtrapati Bhawan as someone 'easy person to get on with'. "I had the benefit of knowing President Kovind before he became President. Because as Governor of Bihar, there were several occasions in which I visited Patna and we had good conversations," Mr Ansari said. To a question on his long stint as Vice President, Mr Ansari, who was also a career diplomat, said: "Every citizen is in a sense, a political creature. But being in the thick of things was a new experience, a novel experience".
On certain constraints as he held the constitutional position, Mr Ansari admitted: "Well, yes but it was a different kind of constraint which one went through as the representative of the country. This was a different kind of thing - there were constraints on movement and things like that for understandable reasons. One had to live with it". To a question, he declined to compare two Presidents Prathiba Patil and Pranab Mukherjee and said, "I think each individual as the head of the Republic, has his or her own way of doing things. And, frankly speaking, the Vice President has only a kind of ceremonial relationship with the President". However, he said, "With President Mukherjee one could go over the whole history of modern Indian democracy. With Pratibhaji, it was a different kind of conversation". (UNI)
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