It was action replay on Friday: the same wires snaked down the OB vans on the roads; the row of chairs sat under the makeshift “shamiana”; the gaggle of people comprising security and media; the arrival of political leaders with their sirens blaring and flashing beacon lights.
Even the weather was the same, balmy, as it had been the day Pratibha Patil was elected the first woman President of the country. The location, needless to add, was identical: 11 South Avenue.
Only, the address had a different occupant on Friday.
New Vice-President Mohammed Hamid Ansari, emerging out of his residence in a pyjama-kurta, was a picture of calm and humility. Flanked by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the former diplomat spoke with sincerity in his first interaction with the media after being elected.
“I am aware of the responsibilities of the new post and will attempt to discharge my duties to the best of my abilities,” he said. “Use of violence to protest a point of view is wrong,” he added when asked to comment on the attack on author Taslima Nasreen in Hyderabad on Thursday.
“I have only been elected to the office. I am delighted with the results,” he said minutes after being elected as Vice-President.
“I look forward to the job with anticipation and with trepidation,” said the 70-year-old former diplomat as he accepted bouquets and greetings from well-wishers.
“You feel confident and you also have to be sufficiently realistic that you have to learn,” Ansari said when asked for his reaction on being elected to the high office.
The UPA chairperson and the Prime Minister looked understandably pleased with the consecutive victories of UPA nominees to the two top constitutional posts.
(With PTI inputs)