National Democratic Alliance nominee M. Venkaiah Naidu’s election as the new Vice President of India shattered two records — the 771 votes polled were the highest so far for the constitutional post and his victory margin was more than the votes polled by combined opposition candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
Informed sources said the total 771 votes polled were the highest ever for a Vice Presidential election as the previous best was 759 in 2002 when Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was the NDA nominee.
The sources said Naidu’s victory margin of 272 is the highest in the last three decades and more than the 244 votes polled by Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
Of the total 790 votes in the Vice President’s election, there are two vacancies each in the Lok Sabha (due to the death of Vinod Khanna and countermanding of the election to Anantnag) and in the Rajya Sabha (on account of the resignation of Mayawati and the death of P. Govardhan Reddy).
Of the remaining 786 voters, 771 exercised their franchise. Naidu got 67 per cent of the votes polled (516). While 11 votes were declared invalid, 15 MPs did not vote — four of Trinamool Congress, three of the Bharatiya Janata Party, two each of the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League, one each of the Nationalist Congress Party and PMK, one nominated member, and one Independent member of the Lok Sabha.
The sources said Shankar Dayal Sharma in 1987 and K.R. Narayanan in 1992 were virtually elected unopposed as Vice Presidents.
In the 1997 election, Krishna Kant won by a margin of 168 votes and Shekhawat by 149 in the subsequent election.
Outgoing Vice President Hamid Ansari’s victory margins were 233 and 252 in two successive elections.
The sources said 522 MPs voted for Ram Nath Kovind in the Presidential election on July 17, bagging 768 ballots with Janata Dal-United and Biju Janata Dal support. Naidu got 516 votes even as these two parties backed Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
According to BJP sources, 20 MPs cross-voted in favour of Naidu. They said the BJP was expecting 512 votes from the NDA and other supporting parties. BJP’s Vijay Goel and Sanwarlal Jat could not vote as they are hospitalised while there is a ban on voting by Chedi Paswan. A. Ramdoss of the PMK did not vote.