Former Union Minister Naidu sworn in as Vice President

Veteran political leader M Venkaiah Naidu was sworn in as the Vice President of the country in a brief ceremony in the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhawan today. President Ramnath Kovind administered the oath of office to Naidu and the ceremony was attended by political leaders from several parties.

Dressed in his trademark white panche (lungi) – shirt attire, Naidu became the 13th person to hold the esteemed post. He is the 15th VicePresident, Hamid Ansari and S Radhakrishnan have both held the Vice-President’s office for two consecutive terms.

Naidu comes from a humble background and has made a remarkable career for himself in politics over the past four decades. BJP President, Rajya Sabha member and minister in various portfolios are some of the highlights of his resume.

One of the responsibilities for Naidu as a Vice President will include serving as the Rajya Sabha chairman. In relation to that, after being elected, he assured that as the chairman of the upper house, he would sincerely try to steer the functioning of the house without “fear or favour” and would uphold its integrity and decorum with the cooperation of all its members.

Sources – The Hindu , TOI

Image Source – Vipin Kumar/HT Photo

Smriti Irani gets additional charge of I&B Ministry

Bharatiya Janata Party Union Ministers, Smriti Irani, and Narendra Tomar on Tuesday were given the additional charge of the Information and Broadcast and Urban Development respectively. This came after the resignation of Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, who previously held the two offices, reported Indian Express. He will now contest for the Vice Presidential election in August.

In a series of tweets, Irani congratulated Naidu and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “With blessings of PM @narendramodi ji, took Additional Charge of @MIB_India. My gratitude to Hon. Prime Minister for his continued guidance”, Irani tweeted.

Both Irani and Tomar who are the incumbent Union Ministers of Textiles and Rural Development and Panchayati Raj were stripped off their position during the 2016 cabinet shuffle and were given their current roles. Prakash Javadekar replaced Irani as the Minister for Human Resource and Development and Tomar was replaced by Piyush Goyal for an additional charge of Minister of Mines.

In her two-year tenure as the HRD Minister, Irani faced constant lashes for her policies and comments. In 2014, she was a major figure on scrapping off 2013 implemented FYUP in Delhi University colleges. According to Livemint, the same year a huge controversy sparked over her educational qualification as it was believed she presented fake educational certificates. She was also criticised for lewd comments on the suicide of JNU student Rohith Vermula.

Smriti Irani became the fourth I&B minister in the three years of the Modi government. Previously, Arun Jaitley and Prakash Javadekar held the portfolio before Naidu was made the minister in 2016.

Sources: Livemint, Indian Express

Gopalkrishna Gandhi opposition’s choice for Vice-President

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi has been chosen as the Opposition’s candidate for Vice-President. The decision to pick the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi was taken after 18 Opposition parties met on Tuesday.

According to Indian Express, only Gandhi’s name was discussed during the meeting at Parliament House.

After the meeting, Congress President Sonia Gandhi told reporters that Gandhi’s name for the nomination had been raised unanimously by all parties present in the meeting.

“Eighteen parties have decided to field Gopalkrishna Gandhi as their vice presidential candidate. We have spoken to Gopalkrishna Gandhi. He has agreed to be the opposition’s candidate for vice president”, Indian Express quoted the Congress President as saying.

Nitish Kumar caused a bit of worry in the opposition camp by not attending the meeting, although he sent Sharad Yadav, JDU’s other top leader to compensate for his absence. There has already been some tension in the Opposition camp over Nitish Kumar’s support for BJP Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. But Nitish Kumar’s earlier approval of Gandhi, though, is a major positive.

The meeting was attended by Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, TMC’s Derek O’ Brien, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, NC’s Omar Abdullah, SP’s Naresh Agarwal and BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra. If required, polling for the vice president’s post will be held on August 5 and counting will also take place in the same evening.

The NDA government is yet to announce their candidate for the vice president.

Sources: Indian Express, NDTV 

Elections for Vice President to be held on August 5

In a press conference, the Election Commission announced that August 5, 2017, will hold elections for Vice President. The results will be announced on the same day. July 18 has been set as the deadline for the contestants to file nominations, while July 21 is the last date for the withdrawal of candidatures.

Nasim Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner addressed the press and delivered this announcement. He said, “An election to fill the vacancy to be caused by the expiration of the term of office of the outgoing Vice-President needs to be completed before the expiration of the term of the present incumbent.”

The tenure of current Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari is going to end on August 10. The electoral college comprising members of both the houses of Parliament, along with the nominated members of the Rajya Sabha, elect the Vice-President through the system of proportional representation. As of now, the electoral college has 790 members in total with 245 Rajya Sabha MPs and 545 Lok Sabha MPs. The voters are required to cast their votes with special pens. Using any other pen renders the vote invalid.

The major eligibility criteria for the post of Vice-President requires a candidate to be a citizen of India, atleast 35-years or above and should be qualified to become a member of the Rajya Sabha.


Sources: The Indian Express, The Hindu

Guwahati court summons Rahul Gandhi over defamation charges

A criminal defamation case has been slapped on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi over his remarks on the RSS. Gandhi was summoned by the Kamrup Metropolitan Court over his remarks about temple entry at Barpeta Satra, a Vaishnavite monastery in Assam. The charges were filed by Anjan Bora, an RSS volunteer. Bora, while filing the charges mentioned that Gandhi, who was supposed to visit the Satra on December 12 went to a padayatra instead. Gandhi alleged that he was denied entry when he went to visit the monastery the  previous year. According to NDTV, Gandhi did not enter the monastery because of the presence of some women pilgrims.

The Congress Vice President is required to appear before the court on September 29. He later said in a press conference that he denied entry into the monastery. Gandhi was actually supposed to visit the monastery and then participate in a padayatra which was supposed to end in a mosque. “When I went to Assam I wanted to visit the Barpeta temple. The RSS people stopped me from going into the temple. This is the way BJP operates. They put women in front of me and prevented me from going in,” he said to NDTV. If found guilty, he might face upto two years of imprisonment or fine or both.

Rahul Gandhi also made the BJP furious over his remarks of the RSS being responsible for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.


Sources: IndiaToday, Business Standard

VP concludes 3-day visit to Brunei, arrives at Thailand

BANGKOK:  Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari departed to Thailand, for the second phase of his two-nation visit on Wednesday, after culminating his three-day tour to Brunei. It is during this visit that he held meetings with the top executives belonging to the gas and oil-rich country and also administered signing of three agreements.

At the University of Brunei Darussalam, he delivered a lecture in the morning before departing for the airport. Three additional agreements between India and Brunei took place, based on health and sports, youth issues and defense cooperation.

This being the first visit in 50 years, by an Indian Vice President to Thailand, he was received at the airport by Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong. Thai Prime Minister, Payut Chan-ocha has organized a banquet in Mr. Ansari’s Honour.

As per reports, the VP would be delivering a speech on ‘From Look East to Act East: India’s Partnership with Thailand and ASEAN’, at the Chulalongkorn University of Bangkok, at an event hosted by the Indian Ambassador to Thailand. He would also be meeting the Princess of the nation, before returning to Delhi on Friday.

Sources: NDTVIndia Tv News


Rahul Gandhi appointed Congress party’s new Vice-President

New Congress VP Rahul Gandhi with PM Manmohan Singh
New Congress VP Rahul Gandhi with PM Manmohan Singh

Rahul Gandhi , the 42 year old leader on Saturday was officially raised up to the number two position after being appointed the Vice –President of the congress party. It was formalized at the meeting of the Congress working committee (CWC). Amidst all this his role in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls is yet to be decided.  But it seems the opposition party‘The Bharatiya Janata Party’ (BJP) is none too happy with the move.