NDA candidate Venkaiah Naidu wins vice presidential election

9:58 PM, Saturday, August 5th, 2017

VenkhaiaNew Delhi: The ruling NDA candidate and former Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu was on Saturday elected as the next Vice-President of India.
Naidu defeated the Opposition candidate and former diplomat Gopalkrishna Gandhi by a margin of 272 votes.

Naidu secured 516 votes as against 244 got by Gandhi. In all 771 out of 785 MPs cast their votes. Votes of 11 MPs were declared invalid. Fourteen MPs of different political parties did not vote for varied reasons. Three hundred and eight one votes were needed to win.

Naidu will take the oath of office on August 11. The term of incumbent vice president Hamid Ansari, who held the position for two consecutive terms, ends on August 10.
By virtue of being vice president, Naidu also becomes ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha. His position’s term is set at five years and he can technically be re-elected as vice president any number of times.

PM Modi congratulated Naidu.

“I think we will miss Venkaiah Naidu in one place, but you will see more in action in another place,” said Goa’s BJP chief minister Manohar Parrikar about the former BJP Union minister.

Naidu served as Union minister for urban development in the Modi Cabinet. He has also served as the BJP national president from 2002 to 2004. Earlier, Naidu was the Cabinet Minister for rural Development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee NDA government.

However, earlier in the day, Naidu said he is now a “non-party man” and exuded confidence in getting support from members of Parliament.

“There is no my party or your party. Now I am a non-party man. Majority of political parties in India are supporting my candidature. I am confident that they will all vote in the election,” Naidu told reporters in New Delhi.

Gandhi, who was the other candidate in the polls, is of course the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. He served as secretary to the President of India and as high commissioner to South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Gandhi had gracious things to say about Naidu earlier on Saturday as the polls began.

“The NDA’s candidate is an experienced person, (and there’s) no competition as such between us. It is a fight based on constitutional principles, where I maintained complete civility and the same has been done from the other side too,” said Gandhi, a career bureaucrat.

Polling began Saturday morning at 10 am. Fourteen MPs didn’t cast their vote. Two BJP leaders — Sanwarlal Jat and Vijay Goel — were hospitalised and therefore couldn’t vote, BJP leaders said.

The country recently got a new President, Ram Nath Kovind, who was also an NDA candidate. Kovind beat the Congress-led joint opposition candidate Meira Kumar in elections last month. He was sworn in as President on July 25.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi showed up to vote soon after polls began. Immediately after he voted, he tweeted:

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