New Delhi: Bidding farewell to outgoing Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said his diplomatic stint in West Asia has had an influence on him and that he could freely pursue his "basic ideology" now after shedding Constitutional duties.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, he mentioned about the career of Ansari, whose tenure as the Chairman of the Upper House came to an end on Thursday.
"On behalf of the citizens and both Houses of Parliament, I express gratitude for the services you have rendered as Vice President of the nation," Modi said.
He hoped that Ansari would "continue to guide the nation in moving forward on the path laid down by the Constitution."
Modi noted that Ansari belonged to a family which has been in public life for about 100 years and that his grand parents had served as the head of a national party or in the Constituent Assembly.
"You come from a family whose ancestors were associated at some of point of time with the Congress party and the 'khilafat movement'," he said.
The prime minister then talked about the diplomatic career of 80-year-old Ansari.
"A major part of your career was associated with West Asia as a diplomat. You spent many years of your life in that circle, in that atmosphere, in that ideology, in that debate and lived among such people," he said.
Modi said that even after retirement from service, Ansari's work remained in the "same circle" as he worked with the Minority Commission and Aligarh Muslim University.
"But during these 10 years (as Vice President), you had to deal with a different kind of responsibility (in running the House). Every moment, you had to remain confined to the Constitution and you made a good effort to fulfill it.
"There may have been some struggle within you (all these years) but from now onwards, you won't have to face this dilemma. You will have a feeling of freedom and you will get an opportunity to work, think and talk according to your basic ideology," he told the outgoing Rajya Sabha chairman.
Modi said though he did not have much interaction with Ansari, he had got insight into many issues from him whenever they met before or after his foreign visits.
Talking about the traits of a career diplomat, he said he understood these only after becoming the prime minister.
"You cannot understand immediately what is the meaning of their smile or what is the meaning of the way they shake hands. Because they have been trained like this. I am sure those traits would have been used (by Ansari) in the Rajya Sabha over the last 10 years for the benefit of the House."
Conveying his best wishes to Ansari and wishing him a long life, Modi noted that the outgoing Chairman has also kept himself physically fit.
Updated Date: Aug 10, 2017 20:33 PM