Naidu defeated Gopalkrishna Gandhi in the vice presidential election
GN Bureau | August 4, 2017
Former union minister and NDA nominee Venkaiah Naidu was elected vice president after he defeated UPA nominee and former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi in the votes that were polled and counted on Saturday.
Naidu, 68, succeeds Hamid Ansari, who served as vice president for 10 years. The vice president is the 'ex-officio' chairperson of the Rajya Sabha and is elected for a period of five years.
The victory of Naidu, who is a two-time Bharatiya Janata Party president, in the vice presidential election was a foregone conclusion. There was a media report that Naidu had already begun to pack his belongings to shift to the vice president’s home even before the vote count took place.
The vice president is elected by the members of an electoral college that consists of the members of both houses of parliament. The nominated members can also vote.
The numbers were already in Naidu’s favour. The electoral college comprises 790 members and parties with 484 members have already pledged their support to Naidu. The current NDA strength in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha is 337 and 80 respectively. The TRS, the AIADMK, and the YSRCP have together 50 and 17 MPs in the two respective houses.
At the time of filing his nomination, Naidu had said that he will justice to the office once chosen.
In a letter that was sent to all parliamentarians a couple of days ahead of election day, Naidu assured them that he would “defend and uphold the ideals that propelled the freedom struggle, the spirit and the principles of the Constitution of India”.
Naidu served as the minister of housing and urban poverty alleviation, urban development and information and broadcasting in the Modi cabinet. He was the union cabinet minister for rural development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
On Saturday, Naidu triumphed over Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. He is a former Indian Administrative Service officer and has served as secretary to the president of India. He was also high commissioner to South Africa and Sri Lanka.
A day ahead of voting, lawmakers from the BJP and its allies attended a workshop on how to vote. The workshop was organized after parliamentarians cast 21 invalid votes in the presidential election.
BJP chief Amit Shah, at a party meeting, had wondered how so many lawmakers had cast invalid votes.
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