Today: Jun 25, 2024

NDA’s VP pick Dhankhar files nomination: Says given ‘historic opportunity’, will strive to enhance democratic values

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New Delhi: Set to become India’s next vice president, former West Bengal Governor and NDA candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar filed his nomination on Monday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior Union ministers and asserted that he will always strive to enhance democratic values.

After filing his nomination, Dhankhar, 71, highlighted his humble origins and told reporters that he had never thought even in his dreams that an ordinary person from a farmer’s family like him would get such a “historic” opportunity.

Dhankhar said he was at a loss for words for this opportunity and saluted the founding fathers of the Constitution, India’s great democratic values and the strength of its civilisation.

“And I am grateful to the Prime Minister and the leadership that a humble man like me from a ‘Kisan’ family who would never have got an education but for a scholarship has been given this historic opportunity. I take it as a major milestone reflection on the events in which we are at this moment,” he added.

Modi, who was among the senior leaders who were proposers for his candidature, expressed confidence that Dhankhar will be “an excellent and inspiring Vice President.”

The opposition has named Margaret Alva as its candidate for the vice presidential election.

Besides Modi, Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, BJP president J P Nadda, Janata Dal (United) chief Lalan Singh and BJD’s Pinaki Misra were present during his nomination for the August 6 election in which his win is all but certain as he enjoys support from a majority of MPs.

Union ministers Pashupati Kumar Paras, Anupriya Patel and Ramdas Athawale, all BJP allies, were also present among others.

Asserting that Dhankhar’s nomination was “a matter of great pride for every citizen”, BJP president J P Nadda said,”his decades of experience in serving the nation in different roles and capacities with his erudition ensures that he is the right candidate to become the vice president of our country.”

“His life and commitment are an inspiration to every citizen…A farmer’s son, his nomination is a matter of great pride for every citizen of the country and is representative of the BJP’s ideology of ‘Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas’,” Nadda added.

Before filing his nomination, Dhankhar attended a meeting of MPs from different parties supporting his candidature.

The electoral college for the poll comprises members of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The BJP alone has 394 MPs out of the current strength of 780 with 391 being the majority mark.

The major parties which have already declared their support to Dhankhar include the JD(U), the BJD and the YSR Congress which have 21, 21 and 31 MPs respectively. This along with the BJP’s 394, takes his support to 467 MPs.

Several other parties, including the AIADMK with five MPs, Apna Dal with two MPs and a few from the Northeast have also pledged their support, making it all but certain that he will be M Venkaiah Naidu’s successor as vice president.

In Jaipur, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said Dhankhar is from Rajasthan and is pitted against joint opposition candidate Alva who has been the former governor of the state.

“He (Dhankhar) has become a candidate from Rajasthan just like Bhairon Singh Shekhawat once became (the VP candidate). If a candidate is from the state, there may be sentiments (for him) among people here, but the voting pattern will remain based on ideology,” he said.

Gehlot said the chairman of both the houses of Parliament from Rajasthan is a pleasant coincidence.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla is also from Rajasthan.

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