Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday 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, the 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," Dr 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 the visitor's gallery, leaders from all parties heaped praise on his illustrious career, his simplicity and the 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 that 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 tensions.
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 that 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.