NEW DELHI: Former West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar was elected as the 16th Vice President of India on Saturday.
The Election Commission announced that NDA nominee Dhankhar emerged victorious in the vice presidential election in which he was pitted against the Opposition's candidate Margaret Alva. As per the Election Commission, Dhankhar secured a total of 528 first preference votes, while Alva got only 182 votes.
As the term of incumbent Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu ends on August 10, the members of both Houses of the Parliament on Saturday voted to elect the next Vice President.
Utpal Kumar Singh, returning officer for the vice presidential election, said that of the total 780 electors, only 725 voted in the vice presidential poll. Of the total 725 votes, 15 votes were found invalid and 710 votes valid.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Jagdeep Dhankhar to congratulate him soon after he was announced the winner in the vice presidential election. "Congratulations to Jagdeep Dhankhar on being elected Vice President with resounding support across party lines. I am confident he will be an outstanding Vice President. Our nation will gain tremendously from his intellect and wisdom," the Prime Minister said in a tweet. "I thank all those MPs who have voted for Jagdeep Dhankhar. At a time when India marks Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, we are proud to be having a Kisan Putra Vice President who has excellent legal knowledge and intellectual prowess," he tweeted.
President Droupadi Murmu also congratulated Dhankhar on his win. "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," she wrote on Twitter.
Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also congratulated Dhankhar.
Meanwhile, llosing candidate Margaret Alva also congratulated Dhankhar on his victory. She said: "This election is over. The battle for protecting our Constitution, strengthening our democracy and restoring the dignity of Parliament, will continue."
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP chief JP Nadda, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and MPs from the ruling party and the Opposition cast their votes on Saturday in the Parliament House complex for the election of the new Vice President of the country.
Modi exercised his franchise by reaching Parliament at 10 am. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came in a wheelchair since he is unwell and cast his vote. Several members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, including Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh, also cast their votes.
Voting in the vice presidential election started at 10 am and ended at 5 pm.
In terms of numbers, NDA candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar was always expected to win, but on the lines of the presidential election, the BJP worked on a strategy to get more and more MPs' votes so its candidate could win with a big margin.
The Trinamool Congress, a major Opposition party, decided to abstain from the vice presidential election. The Biju Janata Dal (BJD), YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) as well as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced their support for the NDA candidate to ensure a big victory for Dhankhar. (IANS)