Friday 18 August 2017 News Updated at 03:08 AM IST
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Naidu needs to take everyone along in RS - Deccan Herald
Naidu needs to take everyone along in RS
DH News Service, Bengaluru,
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Sticking to his penchant for one-liners and acronyms, Vice President-elect Venkaiah Naidu has given a new definition of India. According to him, India stands for "Integrated National Development Impacting All Indians." Naidu may have repeatedly stated after his election that he has ceased to be a BJP member but the fact is that party made him the candidate because he was the most prominent face of the BJP in South India and supposed to serve a political objective by facilitating the party's expansion plans. As in the case of presidential elections, his victory was certain. But while the result was expected, the margin was not. The fact that Naidu secured more votes against the pledged support of around 495, shows that nearly two dozen MPs of the Opposition defied their leadership and cross-voted in NDA's favour. What should cause concern among the opposition parties is that their candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi got only 19 votes more than their presidential nominee Meira Kumar even though 40 more MPs had pledged support to him. This could have wider political repercussions, especially in the Rajya Sabha elections due in Gujarat on Tuesday, where Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel is contesting amidst uncomfortable desertions and dissensions.

Like President Ram Nath Kovind, Naidu too has promised to discharge his political obligations in a non-partisan manner. However, the manner in which they function will be keenly watched by the Opposition as well as the civil society. Though the two top constitutional posts are supposed to be apolitical, this is the first time the BJP leaders with strong RSS connections are holding both. With Hamid Ansari, who was a UPA nominee, demitting office of the vice president, Congress will have lost a significant perch in the Rajya Sabha and Naidu's election only accentuates the current ascendancy of the BJP and its allies.

Losing another perch in the vice presidential election marks the Congress' final exit from the power matrix that it had consolidated during the 2004-14 UPA rule. In the Rajya Sabha, the Opposition had so far been able to corner the government with its commanding majority in the Upper House, somewhat compensating for its absolute irrelevance in the Lok Sabha. This may, however, change in future with BJP and NDA getting more members in the Elders' House. With Naidu as the chairman of the Upper House, the new reality will force the Opposition camp to revise the strategies they have used for three years to corner the government. Naidu, however, would do well to take all members along, including those from the Opposition, during the proceedings of the House. Unlike Kovind, whose choice was dictated by considerations of political symbolism, Naidu's choice is deeply political, with an eye on Rashtrapati Bhavan in 2022.