New Delhi: Jagdeep Dhankhar was elected the new Vice President of India on Saturday. The 70-year-old NDA candidate defeated joint Opposition candidate Margaret Alva by a huge margin of votes to become the 14th Vice President of India. Dhankhar secured 528 votes while 80-year-old Alva bagged 182 votes.
Jagdeep Dhankhar, the former West Bengal governor, will take over from M Venkaiah Naidu, 73, whose tenure comes to an end on August 10. The newly elected Vice President will take oath of office on August 11, after incumbent Naidu demits office.
Opposition candidate Margaret Alva congratulated Dhankhar and noted that while this election is over, the battle for protecting the Constitution, strengthening democracy and restoring Parliament’s dignity will continue.
President Draupadi Murmu said the nation will benefit from Dhankhar’s long and rich experience in public life. “Congratulations to Jagdeep Dhankhar on being elected the Vice President of India. The nation will benefit from your long and rich experience of public life. My best wishes for a productive and successful tenure,” Murmu tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Dhankhar and congratulated him on the win.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah hailed Dhankhar’s win and said, “It is a matter of joy for the nation that a farmer’s son, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, has been elected as the Vice President of India. As Vice President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar will prove to be an ideal guardian of the Constitution, I congratulate him on this victory.”
As Dhankhar became the second Vice President from Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot congratulated him on his victory saying, “Hearty congratulations and best wishes to Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar on being elected the vice-president of India. People of Rajasthan are happy that Shri Dhankhar has become the second vice-president from Rajasthan after Bhairon Singh Shekhawat ji.”
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi also congratulated Jagdeep Dhankhar on the win.
Nominated by the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which is led by BJP, Dhankhar was set to win as the saffron party enjoys an absolute majority in Lok Sabha and has 91 members in Rajya Sabha.
With victory in sight, BJP members began their celebrations even before the results were announced, outside the residence of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi where Dhankhar was present. Dhankhar’s hometown Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan also saw joyous scenes on the occasion.
As many as 725 MPs cast their ballots in the poll, which is 92.94 per cent of total votes, an official said, adding 15 votes were declared invalid. Members of Parliament, including nominated ones, are entitled to vote in the vice presidential poll.
While the electoral college comprises 788 members, due to eight vacancies in Rajya Sabha, the actual strength is 780. The Trinamool Congress had abstained from voting claiming it was not consulted while naming Alva as the opposition pick. However, two of its MPs — Sisir Kumar Adhikari and Dibyendu Adhikari — broke ranks and cast their ballots. The party has 36 MPs, including 23 in Lok Sabha.
The voter turnout this time was lower than 98.2 per cent recorded in the 2017 election when M Venkaiah Naidu was elected as the vice president.