Sonia Gandhi greets Venkaiah Naidu, reminds him of 'non-partisan' role

Randolph Lopez
August 6, 2017

In the 2007 Vice President elections, incumbent Hamid Ansari had polled 456 votes, Najma Heptullah 222 votes and Rashid Masood 075 votes.

Briefing media, Returning Officer Shemsher K Sharif said Mr Naidu received 516 votes against Gopalkrishna Gandhi's 244 votes.

Although, there are 785 MPs in both the Houses of Parliament, 14 members could not exercise their franchise. The 15th Vice-president of the country will be elected by the members of parliament from Rajyasabha and Loksabha through voting. He will take the oath of office on August 11.

Born in a farmer's family in Chavatapalem, Andra Pradesh in 1949, Naidu is a graduate in law. At a very young age, he became a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and joined ABVP in 1973 as a student leader.

While Naidu's selection as a vice presidential candidate will be a bonus for the smooth running of the Rajya Sabha, it will likely be a loss for Modi.

Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, is an acclaimed civil servant, diplomat and governor, who is a strong votary of secular ethos, and has clear and independent views.

Vice President elect Venkaiah Naidu today promised to uphold the Constitution and the high standards set by his esteemed predecessors.

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Venkaiah Naidu: With all humility, I express my gratitude to every MP who supported my candidature cutting across party lines. The Lok Sabha now has 544 members and the Rajya Sabha 244.

As Vice President, Naidu also becomes the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, where BJP on Thursday overtook the Congress as the single largest party with 58 seats. He appealed to NDA MPs to vote for Naidu in the election of Vice President. Within some decades, he was the BJP's best-known leader from southern India, one famous for witty one-liners.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his congratulations.

Apart from MPs of BJP and NDA component parties, senior party leaders and ministers were also present in the program.

He also said that he is confident that Naidu will serve the nation with dedication. My mind is filled with memories of working with @MVenkaiahNaidu Garu, in the Party & Government.

"The position of the Vice President of India has the crucial challenge of assuming a non-partisan role in running the House of Elders, which acts as a storehouse of wisdom and sage advice for the government", Sonia Gandhi said in a statement. And the number that voted for me is beyond the expectations fo certain calculations.

While his victory was nearly assured, Naidu's elevation as the Vice-President and ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, comes amid changing dynamics for the BJP in the Upper House. He said that this is probably the first opportunity, while the President, Vice President, Prime Minister and Lok Sabha Speaker are of the same community. Since the Rajya Sabha is never fully dissolved and its meeting can be convened on any matter even when the Lok Sabha is not in session, the government now gets an advantage to influence things, thanks to its boost in the Upper House.

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