NDA nominee Venkaiah Naidu becomes 13th Vice President, wins by huge margin of votes

Concluding all speculations and expectations, NDA nominee for the vice-presidential election, M Venkaiah Naidu, has been elected the 13th Vice-President of the country. While Naidu secured 516 votes, the opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi managed to clinch only 244 votes.

Following Naidu’s win, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Congratulations to @MVenkaiahNaidu Garu on being elected India’s Vice President. My best wishes for a fruitful & motivating tenure. I am confident @MVenkaiahNaidu will serve the nation as a diligent & dedicated Vice President, committed to the goal of nation building. My mind is filled with memories of working with @MVenkaiahNaidu Garu, in the Party & Government. Will cherish this aspect of our association.”

The Member of Parliament (MP)s started casting their votes at the Upper House from 10 am to 5 pm. While there had been 98.21 percent of voting registered, 90 percent of the votes were cast in the first two hours till 12 pm. And with BJP emerging as the majority in the Rajya Sabha, Venkaiah Naidu’s win was much speculated by many.

Among the MPs who couldn’t cast their votes were two saffron party leaders Sanwarlal Jat and Vijay Goel, who are hospitalized and two other MPs from Kerala, whose flights were delayed and couldn’t reach by 5 pm. With the total strength of the House being 790, the Members of Parliament had to use special pens to mark their choices and the election was conducted through a secret ballot.

The opposition at the Parliament led by Congress had nominated former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi against Naidu. With BJP emerging as the largest party in the Rajya Sabha for the first time, Venkaiah Naidu’s chances to become the 15th Vice-President of the country was almost obvious. To add more to the BJP cards, the saffron party also had the support of AIADMK, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress. However, even after its alliance with the BJP to form the government in Bihar, Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) had earlier stated that the party would be supporting Gopalkrishna Gandhi at the Vice-Presidential elections.

BJP came to power with a clear majority in the Lok Sabha after its massive victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections while the Congress witnessed a downfall by managing to establish power in just six out of 29 states. Also in the Rajya Sabha, with reflections of its steadily falling fortunes across the country, the Congress party had, for the first time, come to the second spot. With Madhya Pradesh tribal leader Sampathiya Uikey’s oath as a Rajya Sabha member on Thursday, the Narendra Modi led party took the number of lawmakers to 58, one more than the grand old party of India. Even during the epic rule of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP had mostly below 50 seats in the Upper House.

Today’s Vice-Presidential election was the 15th such election in the country following the previous elections to this office held in 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012.

By Priyam Mukhopadhyay

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