NEW DELHI, Aug 5 - NDA nominee M Venkaiah Naidu was today elected as India�s next Vice President, receiving an overwhelming two-third votes against opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
The 68-year-old BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh got 516 votes out of the total 771 votes cast, while Gandhi could manage only 244 votes. Of the total 771 votes polled, 11 were found to be invalid. Although 785 MPs were eligible to vote in today�s election, 14 MPs could not vote.
The strength of the electoral college comprising both elected and nominated MPs of the Rajya Sabha (RS) and the Lok Sabha (LS) is 790. There are two vacancies each in the LS and RS. One BJP Lok Sabha MP is barred from voting following a judicial pronouncement.
�Coming from an agricultural background, I never imagined I would be here. Agriculture has no proper voice in Indian polity,� India�s Vice President-elect told PTI.
�I am very humbled. I am also thankful to the Prime Minister and all party leaders for their support. I will seek to utilise the vice presidential institution to strengthen the hands of the President and secondly, uphold the dignity of the Upper House,� he added.
Naidu will be the 13th person to hold the second highest constitutional post. By virtue of being the Vice President, Naidu will also preside over the Rajya Sabha as the Chairman.
In the 2007 vice presidential poll, incumbent Hamid Ansari had polled 456 votes, Najma Heptullah 222 votes and Rashid Masood 75 votes. In the 2012 polls, Ansari had bagged 490 and NDA nominee Jaswant Singh 238 votes.
With today�s election, those holding the three top positions in the country � the President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister �come from the BJP.
Last month, Ram Nath Kovind became the first BJP leader to win presidential poll defeating opposition�s Meira Kumar.
Naidu will be the second BJP leader to become Vice President after Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (2002-2007).
A two-term BJP president, Naidu was also elected to the Rajya Sabha three times from Karnataka. He represented Rajasthan in the Upper House of Parliament before he was nominated to the Vice President�s post by the NDA.
Once an LK Advani protege, Naidu vigorously backed Modi for the Prime Minister�s post before the 2014 elections.
He was Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Housing and Urban Affairs in the Modi government and earlier held the Parliamentary Affairs portfolio.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Naidu on being elected as the Vice President and expressed confidence that he will serve the nation with dedication and diligence.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi also extended her best wishes to Naidu and offered her party support for effective scrutiny of legislations and government policies in Rajya Sabha.
Assam Governor Banwarilal Purohit also congratulated the Vice President-elect, saying Naidu�s administrative experience would be beneficial for the nation. � PTI