M Venkaiah Naidu elected as new Vice President of India

New Delhi: M Venkaiah Naidu, the candidate of the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, will be India’s next Vice President as results were declared of the election in which Members of Parliament cast their votes today. According to election officer Shamsher K Sharif, Naidu got 516 votes against opposition candidate Gopal Krishna Gandhi’s 244 votes.

The NDA, which has a majority in the Lok Sabha, found it easy to place its candidate as the next vice president. The opposition had fielded former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi against Mr Naidu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to cast his vote in parliament.

771 of 785 votes were cast when polling closed at 5 pm, registering 98.21 per cent voting. 90 per cent votes were polled within the first two hours, till 12 pm.Two BJP leaders – Sanwarlal Jat and Vijay Goel – are hospitalised and could not vote, BJP leaders said. Two MPs from Kerala, whose flight was delayed, were not allowed to vote after 5 pm.

“I am a non-party man. Majority of the political parties are supporting me. I am confident that they will vote in the polls,” Venkaiah Naidu told reporters this morning. “NDA’s pick is a very experienced person. My contest is not with him, though it’s on technical grounds. This election is not between 2 parties or individuals,” said Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the opposition’s nominee.
Members of Parliament used special pens for marking their choice in the election.

The Biju Janata Dal and the Janta Dal (United) which had supported NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind for the post of president, have decided to back opposition’s nominee Mr Gandhi.
Though the JD(U) has broken ties with ‘mahagathbandhan’ and joined hands with the BJP to form a new government in Bihar, it will vote for Mr Gandhi, a former governor of West Bengal.

No whip could be issued by political parties as the election is through a secret ballot.

The Electoral College which elects the Vice President, who is also the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, consists of elected and nominated members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

The total strength of the two Houses is 790, but there are two vacancies in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha. BJP MP in Lok Sabha Chhedi Paswan is barred from casting vote following a judicial pronouncement.

In the 545-member Lok Sabha, the BJP has 281 members. The NDA led by BJP, has 338 members. In the 245-member Rajya Sabha, the BJP has 58 members making it the single-largest party, while the Congress has 57. The one who gets 50 per cent and one vote of the total valid votes cast will win the poll.

Reacting to his expected victory, Naidu said, “Coming from an agricultural background, I never imagined I would be here. Agriculture has no proper voice in Indian polity.” Thanking Prime Minister and other party leaders for their support, the vice president-elect said he will seek to utilise the vice presidential institution to strengthen the hands of the president and secondly uphold the dignity of the Upper House.

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