Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said his new role makes him an “all-party man” who is above politics. In his maiden speech as the chairperson of Rajya Sabha, Naidu urged parliamentarians to work together for the good of the country.
“We do not have the luxury of time...let us be guided by what the Constitutional role is for us,” he said. The new vice president added that he has no dynasty backing him, and credited the Constitution for his political success. “I have come from a humble family, I request all members to ensure a smile on the face of all citizens,” said Naidu, according to The Times of India.
Naidu told the Opposition that he will ensure that they have a say when legislations are debated in the Upper House, but that the government will have its way because it is backed by the people’s mandate. “If the ruling party has power, Opposition must at least have its say,” he said. “But at the end of the day, democracy says that Opposition must have its say and the government must have its way because it is as per the mandate of the people.”
He, however, asked political leaders not to treat each other as enemies but as rivals for the common goal of strengthening the country. “Democracy is not about numbers but to understand and appreciate each others’ point of view. We must debate, discuss, decide and deliver,” said the vice president, according to the Hindustan Times.
Naidu took oath as the 13th vice president of India earlier in the day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised him, and said Naidu “understands farmers, the farming process and their troubles well”.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad welcomed Naidu. Azad said the beauty of democracy lies in the rise of grassroots-level people like Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury and Naidu. “You are one of the very few who get this auspicious chance to sit on that chair... You have risen from the ground and come from a very humble background, this depicts the best part of our democracy,” said Azad.