“It is the strength of the Constitution that those occupying top constitutional posts in the country today are from poor, ordinary and rural backgrounds. They have not come from any rich elite family. For the first time, such people with such backgrounds occupying the top constitutional posts shows the maturity of democracy in India,” he said.
The BJP has been taking credit for the elevation of Naidu as well as President Ram Nath Kovind. Modi began by citing the day’s historic value as it was on this day that freedom fighter Khudiram Bose, 18, was hanged.
Noting that Naidu is the first Vice President born in Independent India, Modi recalled his long association with him and expressed confidence that he would provide guidance to all members and lift the stature of the House, being well-versed in the intricacies of parliamentary procedures.
He said Naidu is always sensitive to the needs of rural areas, the poor and farmers, and added it was he who had conceptualised Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. He said the “son of a farmer” has risen to the country’s second highest constitutional position.
Modi flagged Naidu’s passion for acronyms (tukbandi). Since Naidu has spent so many years in Rajya Sabha, the PM said, some members might feel initial discomfort similar to that faced by lawyers when one of them becomes a judge.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Naidu, with his vast experience, would be able to perform the “balancing act” — matters of public interest the Opposition wants to raise must be given adequate time but, at the same time, there is government business that has to be carried out.
Jaitley noted that there have been demands from Opposition members that bills should not be passed in a din. “This principle has been strictly adhered to post-2014,” he said. Prior to 2104, there was no such principle. I hold 21 bills, prior to 2014, which were passed in the din… the last one was the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.”
Jaitley recalled there have been times where the relevance of Parliament used to get pushed into the background, one party used to have an overall majority. “We have also seen days where the whole Opposition was in jail and constitution amendments were passed by a depleted strength,” he said, alluding to the Emergency.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recalled Naidu’s contribution to creating a band of youth leaders in the BJP when he was its national president.