NEW DELHI: With senior Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu winning the Vice Presidential poll with a record margin, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is at the pinnacle of its political journey.
For the first time since independence, the BJP now has all the three posts in its kitty. After having its own majority in 2014 polls which saw Narendra Modi being sworn in as the Prime Minister, three years later the BJP has freshly minted President Ramnath Kovind, newly elected Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu — all three hailing from humble origins and RSS-BJP background.
Starting his career in rough and tumble of student politics of Andhra Pradesh, Venkaiah Naidu gradually climbed the ladder in the party — becoming a legislator, party leader in Andhra Pradesh, general secretary, spokesperson, and rising to become the party president as well. He was in his fourth term as Rajya Sabha member when Modi-Amit Shah combine decided to nominate him as the NDA’s Vice Presidential candidate last month. Mr. Naidu had been Rural Affairs Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and was heading Urban Affairs, Information and Broadcasting Ministry in the Modi government.
Affable, witty, easy going and known for his acronyms and one-liners, Mr. Naidu once commented on the high command culture in the Congress, saying it would become a “low command and then no command.” His well wishers, admirers and friends cut across all part affiliations and that is the reason behind him bagging a record 516 votes of MPs of both the Houses. His united opposition rival Gopal Krishna Gandhi got 244 votes out of 771 total votes that were cast.
Mr. Naidu will take oath as the country’s 15th Vice President on August 11 as the tenure of incumbent M. Hamid Ansari who was in his second term ends on August 10. As Rajya Sabha Chairman, Mr. Naidu would need all his skills and persuasive powers to run the House of Elders smoothly. Interestingly, the BJP has also become the single largest party in the Rajya Sabha with 58 members and the Congress lagging behind with 57. The BJP already has a brute majority in the Lok Sabha, first party to have such good numbers in the past 30 years.