It’s Venkaiah Naidu vs Gopalkrishna Gandhi in vice presidential election
New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Monday picked Union urban development minister M. Venkaiah Naidu as its candidate for the upcoming vice presidential election.
The decision to name Naidu was taken after consultations between the constituents of the NDA and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders over the past two days.
With this the stage is set for a face-off for the vice president’s post on 5 August, given that the opposition has already announced the candidature of Gopalkrishna Gandhi. The outcome of this contest will be decided by the majority of the combined strength of both houses of Parliament—which puts the odds in favour of Naidu.
“All NDA parties have supported the name of M. Venkaiah Naidu. He is among the seniormost parliamentarians across all political parties. Naidu has been in public life since 1970 and played a crucial role in opposing imposition of emergency,” said BJP president Amit Shah while making the announcement on Monday.
If indeed, as expected, the NDA nominees for president and vice president are elected then the BJP, which has emerged as the principal pole of Indian politics, would have once again succeeded in imposing its writ. While being a crucial member of the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Naidu has also worked under former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“Venkaiah Naidu was twice the president of BJP, and is presently Union minister for urban development and information and broadcasting,” Shah added.
The BJP president also said opposition parties have already named their candidate for the post of vice-president. “If opposition parties wanted a consensus candidate, they could have waited a bit longer and not announced the name of their candidate,” he added.
Meanwhile, voting for the post of president concluded on Monday. Former Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind, backed by NDA, is taking on the opposition candidate, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar.
The prime minister, who was among the first to cast his vote, said the monsoon session, which commenced on Monday, was significant.
“It is this session where the country will get an opportunity to elect a new president and vice president. There are many important events that will take place during this session and the entire country will be keeping an eye on this session,” Modi told the media on Monday.
Voting to elect the 14th President of India began at 10am and ended at 5pm at 32 polling stations—one in each of the legislative assemblies and one in Parliament house. An electoral college comprising members of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and legislative assemblies—comprising a total of 4,896 voters including 4,120 MLAs and 776 elected MPs—voted for the next President. The result will be announced on Thursday.
“We voted for Meira Kumar to register our protest against present atrocities in the country. All opposition parties must unite together. This is the best time,” said West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.
In addition to having fewer numbers than the government, the opposition is also fearing cross-voting. In the case of the Samajwadi Party there was a formal split with Shivpal Yadav saying the camp led by party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav will support Kovind while party chief Akhilesh Yadav backed Kumar.
Earlier, Modi urged members of Parliament to keep national interest in mind during the session.
“When all political parties and state governments take decisions for the benefit of the country, then the country benefits and that has been shown in the implementation of GST. Growing stronger together is the second name of the GST spirit,” he said.
The monsoon session of Parliament ends on 11 August.
“I hope that all political parties, and members of Parliament will work towards the national interest and will engage in high standards of debate which provide value-addition to the proceedings,” the prime minister said.
Modi said that this session was important for many reasons as during the session India completes 70 years of Independence on 15 August and 75 years of the Quit India Movement.
PTI also contributed to the story.
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