Questions were raised when Vice President Dr. Hamid Ansari did not salute the National Flag during the flag hoisting ceremony at India’s 66th Republic Day Parade. President Pranab Mukherjee, PM Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar were seen saluting the National Flag while the National Anthem was being played. But, the Vice President did not follow suit.
US President Barack Obama, the Chief Guest at 66th Republic Day Parade and his wife Michelle Obama did not salute the National Flag, as they were foreign dignitaries.
The people of India will definitely expect an answer from the Vice President, as he remains the second highest Constitutional Authority of India after President Pranab Mukherjee.
The Vice President’s office issued a clarification after some people added communal angle to the news. It was just a news and people had right to seek clarification. But, unfortunately, some vested interests passed derogatory comments against Dr. Hamid Ansari and questioned his patriotism on religious grounds, which we never approve and condemn it in all terms.
Clarification issued by V-P’s Office:
“As per the protocol, when the national anthem is played, the Principal Dignitary and persons in uniform take the salute. Those in civil dress stand in attention. “During the Republic Day Parade, the President of India, as Supreme Commander, takes the salute. As per protocol, the Vice President is required to stand in attention,” Gurdeep Sappal, Joint Secretary and OSD to the Vice President, said in a statement.
“When the Vice President is the Principal Dignitary, he salutes during the national anthem, wearing a headgear, as done at NCC camp this year,” Sappal added.