Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu (born 1 July 1949) is an Indian politician and the Vice President-elect of India. He served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting in the Modi Cabinet. A prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he also served as its national president from 2002 to 2004. Earlier, he was the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Naidu was born on 1 July 1949 at Chavatapalem, in the Nellore district of the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh. He completed schooling from V. R. High School, Nellore, and pursued his bachelor’s degree in politics and diplomatic studies from V. R. College. Later, he acquired a bachelor’s degree in law with specialisation in international law from Andhra University College of Law, Visakhapatnam. He was a swayamsevak in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and joined ABVP during his college days.He was elected as the president of the students union of colleges affiliated to the Andhra University. He came into spotlight for his prominent role in the Jai Andhra Movement of 1972. While Kakani Venkata Ratnam led the movement from Vijayawada, Naidu took active part in the agitation in Nellore, until it was called off a year later.
In 1974, he became the convener of the anti-corruption Jayaprakash Narayan Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti of Andhra Pradesh. He took to streets in protest against the emergency and was imprisoned. From 1977–80, he was president of its youth wing.
1973–74 : President, Students Union, Andhra University
1974 : Convener, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Yuvajana Chatra Sangharsha Samithi, Andhra Pradesh
1977–80 : President, Youth Wings of Janata Party, Andhra Pradesh
1978–85 : Member, Legislative Assembly, Andhra Pradesh (2 terms)
1980–85 : Leader, B.J.P Legislative Party in Andhra Pradesh
1985–88 : General Secretary, Andhra Pradesh State B.J.P.
1988–93 : President, Andhra Pradesh State B.J.P.
1993–September 2000 : National General Secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party
Secretary, B.J.P. Parliamentary Board
Secretary, B.J.P. Central Election Committee
Spokesperson of the B.J.P.
Since 1998 : Member, Rajya Sabha from Karnataka (3 terms)
30 September 2000–1 July 2002 : Minister of Rural Development
1 July 2002–5 October 2004 : National President, Bharatiya Janata Party
Since April 2005: National Vice-President, Bharatiya Janata Party.
2014–2017: Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs
2016–2017: Minister of Information and Broadcasting
2017–Till Date: Vice President-elect of India
SENIOR BJP leader and former Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu was on Saturday elected the 15th Vice-President of India. His election comes a day after the BJP became the single-largest party in the Rajya Sabha, over which he will now preside as its ex-officio chairperson. “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,” Naidu said after his emphatic victory.
Naidu, 68, will be administered the oath of office by President Ram Nath Kovind at a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 11. Naidu replaces Hamid Ansari, who retires on August 10. Within seconds of the election results, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, wishing Naidu a “fruitful and motivating tenure” and saying he was confident Naidu would “serve the nation as a diligent and dedicated vice-president, committed to the goal of nation building”. Later, both Modi and BJP president Amit Shah visited Naidu at his residence to congratulate him.
Naidu won 516 of the total 771 votes polled, in the 786-member electoral college. Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the Opposition’s candidate, got 244 votes, while 11 votes were declared invalid. Two BJP members, Vijay Goel and Sanwarlal Jat, could not cast their votes due to illness while party MP Chedi Paswan had been barred by the Supreme Court from voting.
Naidu got 67 per cent of the total votes in an election that witnessed over 98 per cent polling. A source pointed out that the highest votes ever cast in a vice-presidential election before this was 759, when BJP veteran Shekhawat was elected as the 11th vice-president in 2002. Naidu is the second BJP leader to be vice-president after Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.
Ever since the BJP-led NDA government came to power with a clear majority in 2014, the Rajya Sabha has been dominated by the Opposition. On Friday, the BJP became the single largest party in the Upper House, overtaking the Congress’s 57 by one seat. Though the NDA is not likely to get a majority on its own in the Upper House in the current term of the Modi government, it is expected that the government will have a smoother run.
A BJP leader said that since Naidu is from Andhra Pradesh, his term as Rajya Sabha chairman is expected to help the BJP get the backing of southern parties such as the AIADMK, TRS and YSR Congress during debates and passage of legislation in the Upper House.
It remains to be seen how Naidu, who is known for his puns and one-liners, settles into his new role as Rajya Sabha chairman. On the eve of the vice-presidential election, while launching ‘Tireless Voice Relentless Journey: Key Speeches of M Venkaiah Naidu’, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a lighter vein that in his new role as Rajya Sabha chairman, it would be a “challenge for him to speak less and let others speak”.
BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Prabhat said he was confident that Naidu would be a “fair chairperson”. “When he sits on the chair, he will be a just and fair person,” Jha told The Sunday Express. The Opposition is watching, said a senior Congress leader. “We will see how Naidu conducts the House. If he takes everyone along, we will cooperate, otherwise the government will face a tough Opposition,” he said.
On Saturday, before the results came out, Naidu assured that he would be bipartisan. “There is no my party or your party. Now I am a non-party man. A majority of political parties in India have supported my candidature,” he said.