Venkaiah elected V-P... bags 99 non-NDA votes
In a major shot in the arms of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), NDA nominee Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu (68) won the vice-presidential poll with a huge majority on Saturday to become India's 13th V-P. With this victory, history has been created by the BJP as this is the first time that leaders of the saffron party would occupy the top four constitutional posts of the country.
With this win, the BJP's dream of making the country "Congress-mukt" has been partially accomplished as all the top four constitutional posts — President, Vice President, Prime Minister and Lok Sabha Speaker — will now be held by BJP leaders. Naidu received 516 votes, which is 86 per cent of the total 760 valid votes, while Opposition candidate Gopal Krishna Gandhi got the support of 244 parliamentarians. The result exceeded even the BJP's expectation, as according to reports, 19 Opposition parties voted in Naidu's favour.
There were a total 785 valid votes but 14 parliamentarians did not turn up and 11 votes were found invalid, reducing the total valid votes to 760. The current strength of the NDA in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha is 337 and 80 respectively and the AIADMK, TRS and YSRCP collectively have 50 and 17 MPs in the two respective Houses, taking the total tally to 484.
Given that Naidu got 516 votes, which is 32 more, it is now clear that as many as 99 non-NDA MPs voted for the NDA candidate. It's been learned that leaders of the Janata Dal (United) might have voted in favour of the NDA candidate, a senior political commentator said, adding that nominated and independent members might have voted in favour of Naidu. The talk of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) members supporting Naidu is not valid as Gandhi is a friend of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, the political commentator said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was among the first to cast their votes in Parliament, congratulated Naidu on the big win. "I am confident that M Venkaiah Naidu will serve the nation as a diligent and dedicated vice-president, committed to the goal of nation building," the PM tweeted.