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If you cooperate, I will operate better, says new V-P Venkaiah Naidu

Venkaiha Naidu told the opposition that he will ensure that they have a say when legislations are debated but the government will finally have its way as it has the mandate. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the 13th vice president for his various development schemes.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2017 17:57 IST
New Delhi

“If you cooperate, I will operate better.” That was M Venkaiah Naidu deploying alliteration as is his wont as he made his debut as chairman of the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

He was urging members not to give long speeches while welcoming him in the House in his new role.

Naidu is known for his communication skills, quick wit and one-liners.

President Ramnath Kovind administered the oath of office to Naidu, 68, at a brief ceremony in the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhawan attended by political leaders cutting across party lines.

Wearing his trademark white panche (lungi) and white shirt, Naidu took oath in Hindi in the name of god.

Naidu told the opposition that he will ensure as the Rajya Sabha chairman that they have a say when legislations are debated but the government will finally have its way as it has the mandate.

“If the ruling party has power, opposition must at least have its say. But at the end of the day, democracy says that opposition must have its say and the government must have its way because it is as per the mandate of the people,” Naidu said in his first speech as the Rajya Sabha chairman.

President Ram Nath Kovind with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the swearing-in ceremony of Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Friday. (PTI Photo)

‘An all-party man’

The former BJP president said he was “an all-party man” now and his role was “above politics”.

“I will meet your expectations. Everyone among you will get an opportunity but everyone must follow the rules and regulations (of Parliament),” Naidu said in response to welcome speeches by Rajya Sabha members.

He said politicians must not look at each other as enemies but as “rivals” in their common endeavour of “working hard to strengthen the country and help people”.

“Democracy is not about numbers but to understand and appreciate each others’ point of view. We must debate, discuss, decide and deliver.”

He credited his political success to the “might” and “beauty” of the Indian Constitution.

PM welcomes farmer’s son

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Naidu for his various development schemes.

“Venkaiah Naidu is a farmer’s son and during his tenure as poverty alleviation minister, he has always upheld the interests of the poor,” said PM Modi while speaking in Rajya Sabha.

NAIDU acronym

Derek O’Brien of the TMC welcomed newly elected vice president of India Venkaiah Naidu in 10 couplets in rhyme. He also described the new Rajya Sabha chairman in acronym: NAIDU- N: Now, A: All, I: India, D: Dearest, U: Umpire.

Vice president M Venkaiah Naidu meets guests before take administering oath at the Durbar Hall in Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Friday. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Opposition’s hopes

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad welcomed vice president M Venkaiah Naidu, the new chairman of Rajya Sabha, and hoped that the tradition of impartiality would continue.

“You are one of the very few who get this auspicious chance to sit on that chair... You have risen from the ground and come from a very humble background, this depicts the best part of our democracy,” Azad said.

Welcoming the new chairman on behalf of the entire opposition, Azad said that it’s twice a responsibility to run the upper house as the members have to meet the expectations of the MLAs who elected them, and the people who elected the MLAs in the first place.

“People like judges, Speaker and chairman Rajya Sabha have a scale behind them to remind us that they are impartial. They have to be just and impartial so that House may function properly...

“Our House has double the responsibilities, that is why it must maintain the tradition that no bill passes through this House in the din... Hope that tradition would continue,” Azad said.

‘Treasury must have its way’
the opposition must have its say, the treasury benches must have their way and Parliament will function in a better way when that happens, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

While welcoming new Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, Prasad tried to follow Naidu’s inimitable style of rhyming to convey political statements.

“The opposition must have its say, but the treasury benches must have their way. When that happens, the Parliament will function better,” he said.

First Published: Aug 11, 2017 12:44 IST