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IOC adds 7 medal events to 2022 Beijing Winter Games program        Indian outplay New Zealand 4-2 in hockey series opener        Samsung, Xiaomi corner 60 pc share of India's smartphone mkt in Q2: Canalys        Indo-Pacific must be free, open and and inclusive region: Swaraj        Indian man shot dead in Canada, two suspects arrested        Trump says looking forward to 'second meeting' with Putin        Mob-lynching cases: Govt asks WhatsApp for solutions beyond labelling forwards        Unidentified 'intruder' killed at Indo-Pak border: official        Oppn, Govt brace for no-trust vote today; BJP confident of win, Cong says issue not just of numbers        Centre Forcing AgustaWestland Middleman To Frame Sonia Gandhi: Congress        We were clinical, says England captain Eoin Morgan        Growth has been solid, hope Olympiad will demonstrate it: Anand        Govt working on another verison of UDAN, says Sinha        Talks on between India, Singapore for cruise tourism: Gadkari        'Not too late to save Brexit': ex-foreign secretary Johnson        Canada: Trudeau set to reshuffle govt ahead of 2019 election        Woman alleges rape by Delhi-based singer        Opposition parties commit to fight against any amendment in RTI Act        Tharoor blames right-wing activists for attacks, demands PM intervention        Women have constitutional right to enter Sabarimala temple: SC        
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Main News
Hamid Ansari steps down as vice president, with words stirring a national debate
 
(New Delhi, Aug 10, 2017):Widely hailed as a gentleman and a scholar, M Hamid Ansari on Thursday stepped down as the vice president of India, bringing to an end what was largely an uncontroversial tenure with unexpected outspoken comments that stirred a national debate.

The soft-spoken former diplomat — the only vice president to serve two terms after S Radhakrishnan — marked his departure with words of concern about threats to plurality and about insecurity among Muslims in a television interview yesterday.

"I am an Indian and that is it," he said, describing as "unnecessary" calls for assertion of a citizen's commitment to nationalism.

Ansari, 80, was first elected Vice President and Rajya Sabha chairman in 2007, when he defeated the NDA's candidate Najma Heptullah. In 2012, he was re-elected to the post when he won against the BJP's Jaswant Singh by 252 votes.

Kolkata-born Ansari, who schooled at St Edwards in Shimla and graduated from St Xavier's College in what was then Calcutta, joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1961.

The grand-nephew of former Congress president and freedom fighter M A Ansari, the VP - originally from Ghazipur in UP — was India's permanent representative to the United Nations.

Ansari's forte was West Asia, where he served as ambassador in Indian missions in the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The editor of 'Iran Today: Twenty Five Years After the Islamic Revolution' earlier wrote columns on foreign affairs, often focusing on West Asia.

The former vice-chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University — from where he completed his doctorate — was the chairman of the National Commission for Minorities post retirement when the United Progressive Alliance government and the Left named him as their candidate for the vice presidential post.

In the last few years, Ansari has occasionally been criticised by members of the National Democratic Alliance. BJP leader Ram Madhav, for instance, had made adverse comments when Ansari did not salute the national flag at the Republic Day Parade when then US President Barack Obama was the chief guest.

It was later clarified by Ansari that he was following the protocol, under which only the President saluted the flag at the ceremony.

"From now on you will be free to act, talk and work in accordance with your basic political ideology and instinct," Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Ansari — who will be succeeded by M Venkaiah Naidu tomorrow — in the Rajya Sabha at a farewell function today.


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Russia beat Spain 4-3 on penalties to reach World Cup quarter-finals
Belgium beat England 1-0, face Japan in FIFA World Cup 2018 pre-quarters
Lashkar terrorist among three identified for involvement in Bukhari's killing: Police
KERALA NEWS
Kerala among 13 states on thunderstorm alert
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INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Indian man shot dead in Canada, two suspects arrested
 Toronto, Jul 19 (PTI) A 27-year-old Indian man was shot dead by four assailants in his home in Canad
Trump says looking forward to 'second meeting' with Putin
'Not too late to save Brexit': ex-foreign secretary Johnson
Canada: Trudeau set to reshuffle govt ahead of 2019 election
NATIONAL NEWS
Mob-lynching cases: Govt asks WhatsApp for solutions beyond labelling forwards
 New Delhi, Jul 19 (PTI) The government today shot off another notice to WhatsApp asking it to come o
Unidentified 'intruder' killed at Indo-Pak border: official
Oppn, Govt brace for no-trust vote today; BJP confident of win, Cong says issue not just of numbers
Woman alleges rape by Delhi-based singer
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