Venkaiah Naidu sworn in as vice-president, BJP occupies top four constitutional posts for the first time

Venkaiah Naidu, vice-president, BJP, M Venkaiah Naidu, President Ram Nath Kovind,

New Delhi: M Venkaiah Naidu sworn in as the vice-president of India on Friday. It also marked a new era for BJP as for the first time in Indian political history four top posts are occupied by its leaders who also have RSS
background. Besides Naidu, President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan are also BJP members.
Senior BJP leader and former Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu replaced M Hamid Ansari as vice-president and ex-officio chairperson of Rajya Sabha on Friday, creating a record of sorts. It also goes in line with PM Modi and
BJP’s mission reflected in their slogan ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’. The top four constitutional posts have surely become ‘Congress-mukt’ till at least 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The trend may continue further if BJP registers victory
in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The only exception now remains the post of deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. PJ Kurien of the Congress currently holds the post. He was appointed to it on August 21, 2012. The BJP is likely to try and replace him at the
earliest available opportunity, making it a clean sweep on top five constitutional posts.
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998-2004) of the BJP did not get the privilege of having the president, vice-president and speaker of Lok Sabha from his party. His term saw two presidents – KR Narayanan (1997
-2002) and APJ Abdul Kalam (2002-2007). While Narayanan originally came from Congress, Kalam was a compromise candidate and an apolitical person.
Not just the president but also the vice-president and Lok Sabha speakers also were not from BJP during a large part of Vajpayee’s tenure. The only exception was Bhairon Singh Shekhawat who was vice-president between
2002 and 2007.
Otherwise, Shekhawat’s predecessor Krishan Kant (1997-2002) was basically a Congress leader having held several posts in the party.
As Vajpayee was running the NDA’s coalition government, he did not get the opportunity to appoint even the Lok Sabha speaker of his choice. Twice he got the opportunity but on both the occasions, he was forced to hand over
the crucial post to BJP’s coalition partners.
GMC Balyogi of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was elected as the Lok Sabha speaker twice in 1998 and 1999. He remained on the post till he died in an air crash in 2002. He was succeeded by Manohar Joshi of the Shiv
Sena for the remaining period (2002-2004) of the 13th Lok Sabha.
The Congress party has managed to fill all four top constitutional posts from its own cadre occasionally in the past 40 years. Its monopoly broke in 1977 when the Morarji Desai led Janata Party came to power.
Indira Gandhi was able to reverse this in 1980 when she romped back to power. The trend continued till her son Rajiv Gandhi was in power till 1989. The alignment broke when VP Singh (1989-1990) succeeded Rajiv Gandhi
and was, in turn, succeeded by Chandra Shekhar (1990-1991).
Once again the alignment was established with PV Narasimha Rao coming to power in 1991. The realignment which continued till 1996 got disturbed with the coalition governments led by HD Deve Gowda (1996-1997) and IK
Gujral (1997-1998).
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh of Congress failed to have a clean sweep in his first term. The post of speaker went to Somnath Chatterjee of the CPI(M) in UPA 1 (2004-2009). The alignment of Congress leaders
occupying all the top four posts was re-established only in Singh’s second term (2009-2014) when Meira Kumar was the Lok Sabha speaker, Pratibha Patil (2007-2012) and her successor Pranab Mukherjee (2012-2017) were
presidents while Hamid Ansari (2007 till date) was the vice-president.

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