Vastavam web: NDA nominee M Venkaiah Naidu was today elected as India’s next Vice-President, receiving an overwhelming two-third votes against opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi.The 68-year-old BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh got 516 votes out of the total 771 votes cast while Gandhi could only manage 244 votes. Of the total 771 votes polled, 11 were found to be invalid.The strength of the electoral college comprising both elected and nominated MPs of the Rajya Sabha (RS) and the Lok Sabha (LS) is 790. There are two vacancies each in the LS and RS.
“Coming from an agricultural background, I never imagined I would be here. Agriculture has no proper voice in Indian polity,” India’s vice president-elect told.”I am very humbled. I am also thankful to the Prime Minister and all party leaders for their support. I will seek to utilise the vice presidential institution to strengthen the hands of the president and secondly uphold the dignity of the Upper House,” he added.In the 2007 VP poll, incumbent Hamid Ansari had polled 456 votes, Najma Heptullah 222 votes and Rashid Masood 075 votes.
In the 2012 polls, Ansari had bagged 490 and NDA nominee Jaswant Singh 238 votes.Last month, Ramnath Kovind became the first BJP leader to win presidential poll defeating opposition’s Meira Kumar.Naidu will be the second BJP leader to become vice- president after Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (2002-2007).A two-term BJP president, Naidu was also 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.Once an L K Advani protege, Naidu vigorously backed Modi for the prime minister’s post before the 2014 elections.