Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu for being a disciplinarian, and claimed that people who call for discipline are called autocrats nowadays, PTI reported. The prime minister was speaking at the launch of a book on Naidu’s experience in his first year as the vice president.

“Venkaiah ji is a disciplinarian but our country’s situation is such that it has become easy to call discipline undemocratic,” Modi said. “If someone calls for discipline, he is branded autocratic...the whole dictionary is opened. But the discipline Venkaiah ji calls for, he himself follows it.”

The prime minister praised Naidu for performing his duties with diligence and adapting into his new role with ease. “He has been in public life for 50 years,” Modi said. “Ten years in student politics and 40 years in state as well as national politics. He always provides visionary leadership whenever he gets a responsibility. He gets the best experts to ensure justice is done to the work assigned.”

The prime minister's remarks can be heard 5.55 onwards.

The prime minister recalled how Atal Bihari Vajpayee wanted to give Naidu a ministry in his government and Naidu told him that he wanted to be the minister of rural development. “Venkaiah ji is a farmer at heart,” the prime minister said. “He is passionate about the welfare of farmers and agriculture.”

At a time political discourse centred around train stoppages, Naidu ensured leaders begin to “think more about roads and other forms of connectivity”, Modi added, praising the vice president for shaping the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma were also present at the event.