The position of vice president, like that of the president, is largely ceremonial under India’s constitution, in which the prime minister and his cabinet colleagues wield executive power.
However, the vice president is also the speaker of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, where NDA lacks a majority and has faced problems in passing legislation.
NDA nominee M Venkaiah Naidu was elected as the 15th vice-president of India by securing over two-thirds of votes, leaving opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi far behind. Naidu got 516 votes out of total 771 votes cast while Gandhi could only manage 244 votes.
Naidu will be the 13th person to hold the second highest constitutional post.
With his victory, for the first time in India’s independent history, BJP leaders would occupy top four constitutional posts of the country. All these posts would be rendered “Congress-mukt”. President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan all come from BJP.
Of the 771 votes polled, 11 were invalid. Although 785 MPs are there in both Houses of Parliament, 14 MPs could not vote.
The strength of the electoral college comprising both elected and nominated MPs of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha is 790. While there are two vacancies in the LS, three seats are vacant in the RS. One BJP Lok Sabha MP was barred from voting following a judicial pronouncement. In the 2007 VP poll, incumbent Hamid Ansari had polled 456 votes, Najma Heptullah 222 votes and Rashid Masood 75 votes.
Naidu’s victory has enabled the party (BJP) to boost its political standing in his southern home region — Andhra Pradesh — where it lacks a broad support base.
Born to a humble agricultural family in Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district, the 68-year-old has served as BJP president, a minister in various portfolios and a long-time Rajya Sabha member.
Naidu is known for his oratory. A two-term member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha three times from Karnataka. He represented Rajasthan in the Upper House of Parliament before he was nominated to the vice president’s post by the NDA.