India’s new Vice President

India’s new Vice President
Venkaiah Naidu has been elected as the 15th Vice President of India. He will assume the office when the current Vice President, Mohammad Hamid Ansari..

Venkaiah Naidu has been elected as the 15th Vice President of India.

He will assume the office when the current Vice President, Mohammad Hamid Ansari, completes his tenure on August 10, 2017. 

Background

The electoral college, consisting of members of both houses of the Parliament, are responsible for electing India’s Vice President. The first Vice President of India was Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. A philosopher and a statesman, he served from 1952 to 1962. He also served as the President of India from 1962 to 1967.

The current VP, Hamid Ansari, has held the position since 2007. He was reelected for a second term in 2012, after defeating his opponent, Jaswant Singh.

Analysis

M Venkaiah Naidu was nominated by the NDA for the post of the VP in July 2017. He has earlier served as the Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Urban Development & Information and Broadcasting in the Union cabinet. He was also the national president of the BJP from 2002 to 2004.

Naidu was up against Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatama Gandhi. He had been nominated for the position by the joint opposition. A former IAS officer, he served as Secretary to the President of India and as High Commissioner to South Africa and Sri Lanka.

After the election, it was reported that Naidu received 516 votes and Gandhi got 244 votes. This is the highest margin by which a VP candidate has won in the last three decades. 771 out of 785 Parliamentarians voted in the election.

Upon winning, Naidu expressed his gratitude and noted that he would champion the agricultural industry in India. He said, “I am very humbled. I am also thankful to the Prime Minister and all party leaders for their support. Coming from an agricultural background, I never imagined I would be here. Agriculture has no proper voice in Indian polity. I will seek to utilize the Vice Presidential institution to strengthen the hands of the president and secondly uphold the dignity of the Upper House.”

In July 2017, NDA’s pick for the Presidential post, Ram Nath Kovind, won the election and was subsequently sworn in.

Assessment

Our assessment is that Vice President-elect Venkaiah Naidu has to uphold the high standards set by his predecessors. Naidu is the second BJP candidate after Bhairon Singh Shekhawat to hold the office of the Vice President. The Vice President acts as the ex-officio Chairman of the Council of States. He is also the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. 

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