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Venkaiah Naidu elected India's next vice-president

NDA's nominee Venkaiah Naidu has won the vice presidential elections. Photograph: (PTI)

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 05, 2017, 01.51 PM (IST)

NDA candidate Venkaiah Naidu will be the next vice-president of India after he beat Opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi by 516 to 244 of the votes.

Expected to win the election, the BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh garnered two-thirds of the 760 valid votes.

"As chairman of Rajya Sabha I will uphold dignity and decorum of the house with the cooperation of all members," the vice-president elect said shortly after his win.

"I am very humbled. I am also thankful to the Prime Minister and all party leaders for their support," he added.

"I will seek to utilise the vice presidential institution to strengthen the hands of the president and uphold the dignity of the Upper House."

Read: How Venkaiah Naidu won the vice-presidential elections

On Twitter, he thanked "every MP who supported my candidature", also promising to "uphold the Constitution and the high standards set by my esteemed predecessors".

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his congratulations. 

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Gopalkrishna Gandhi congratulated Venkaiah Naidu after his win.

"Congratulate Venkaiah Naidu Garu on his victory, wish him all the best for his new office," he said.

"Thank those who voted for me; was expecting a handsome performance by united vote of opposition parties and I'm more than satisfied".

Venkaiah Naidu, who was Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Urban Development in the Modi government before he contested the elections, opened an early lead during the counting of votes.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi extended her wishes and party's support to the vice-president elect, who will also automatically be the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha once he assumes office.

"The position of vice-president has the crucial challenge of assuming a non-partisan role in running 'The House of Elders' which acts as a storehouse of wisdom and sage advice for the government. The House of Elders is an important determinant of our democratic functioning to address appropriate checks and balances," she said in her message.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said, "Opposition will never compromise on ideology whether we face defeat or victory. Thank all those who voted against NDA".

Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury expressed satisfaction over the number of votes bagged by the opposition, calling the vice-presidential election was a 'political fight between two trends'.

 "First of all I would like to congratulate Venkaiah Naidu as the new Vice President of India. We wish him well for his term. This was a political fight between two trends. Those who want to strengthen the Constitution, had come together to field Gopalkrishna Gandhi. We are grateful to him (Gandhi) for agreeing to be the candidate of a united opposition", he said.

Voting began at 10 am today. Counting of votes began at 6:00 pm and results were announced around 7:00 pm. 

Fourteen MPs were absent during voting: 2 from BJP, 2 from INC, 2 from IUML, 4 from TMC, 1 from NCP; 1 from PMK and 2 Independents.

The Electoral College which elects the vice president consists of elected and nominated members of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

The BJP has 281 members in the 545-member Lok Sabha. The NDA has 338 members. The BJP has 58 members in the 245-member Rajya Sabha, the Congress has 57, making the BJP the single-largest party. 

Former Bengal Governor  Gopalkrishna Gandhi had been picked by 18 opposition parties to be their nominee for the post of vice-president.

Incumbent Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who held the position for two consecutive terms, will demit office on August 10.

Once an Advani protege, Venkaiah Naidu vigorously backed Modi for the prime minister's post before the 2014 elections.

He was also the BJP national president for two consecutive terms from July 2002 to October 2004.

Naidu's victory means the top three constitutional offices are now held by BJP leaders following the election of the party's candidate Ram Nath Kovind as president earlier this month.

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