Venkaiah Naidu beats oppn’s Gopalkrishna Gandhi, set to become India’s 13th vice president

The NDA’s candidate, Naidu scored 516 of the 771 votes, while his opponent managaed just 244. Eleven of the votes were deemed invalid.

india Updated: Aug 05, 2017 20:30 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Vice President,Vice president of India,Venkaiah Naidu
Vice president-elect M Venkaiah Naidu before the casting of vote in the election at Parliament House in New Delhi, on August 5, 2017. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Former Union minister Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu was elected India’s 13th Vice President on Saturday evening after defeating Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi by more than 270 votes amidst the highest turnover in a VP election. (HIGHLIGHTS)

Naidu got 516 votes while Gandhi secured only 244 — 25 votes less than what he was slated to get in the high-profile poll, dubbed as an ideological battle by the Opposition camp. Both Congress and the BJP, however, claimed to have benefited from cross-voting.

The Electoral College comprised of 786 votes. Fifteen MPs did not cast their votes and 11 other were declared invalid, reducing the margin of victory to 386. Among the 14 MPs who didn’t vote, three were from the ruling National Democratic Alliance while 12 were from the Opposition.

“Coming from an agricultural background, I never imagined I would be here. Agriculture has no proper voice in Indian polity,” the vice president-elect told PTI shortly after being declared victor.

“I am very humbled. I am also thankful to the Prime Minister and all party leaders for their support. I will seek to utilise the vice presidential institution to strengthen the hands of the president and secondly uphold the dignity of the Upper House,” he added.

Read | Will steer Rajya Sabha without fear or favour, says India’s vice president-elect Venkaiah Naidu

Naidu will be the 13th person to hold the second highest Constitutional post, which also makes him the Chiarman of the Upper House.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his congratulations to Naidu “for a fruitful & motivating tenure”.

“I am confident M VenkaiahNaidu will serve the nation as a diligent & dedicated Vice President, committed to the goal of nation building.”

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also wished Naidu, offering her party’s support in further strengthening the Rajya Sabha for effective scrutiny of legislation and government policies.

“House of Elders (Rajya Sabha) is an important determinant of our democratic functioning to address appropriate checks and balances,” she added.

Naidu’s victory to the country’s second-highest Constitutional office was predicted to be a cakewalk, but as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Naidu may face more intense challenge from the Opposition in the House.

Read | Nellore to New Delhi, NDA’s vice president candidate Venkaiah Naidu’s journey

In the 2007 VP poll, incumbent Hamid Ansari had polled 456 votes, Najma Heptullah 222 votes and Rashid Masood 075 votes.

In the 2012 polls, Ansari had bagged 490 and NDA nominee Jaswant Singh 238 votes.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Aug 05, 2017 19:46 IST