Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said he never wanted to become the VP, but take up “constructive work” following the footsteps of Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader and social activist, the late Nanaji Deshmukh.
Naidu said he was in tears the day he was named for the Vice President’s post for the simple reason that he would not be able to visit the BJP office or talk to the party workers.
Despite coming from a humble background, the septuagenarian said the party had given him everything, except Prime Ministership, for which he was not suitable.
“My dear friends I must tell you the truth…I never wanted to become VP…,” he said at the launch of a book on his two-year term in office titled “Listening, Learning & Leading.”
Naidu said he expressed his interest to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that in his second term (after 2019) he wanted to quit the government, follow Nanaji Deshmukh and go for constructive work (Rachanathmak Karyakram).
“I was planning on that ground….I was enjoying that I will be doing that… But this did not happen,” Naidu said.
Stating that he even suggested some names for the VP post, Naidu said “After a party parliamentary board meeting, Amit bhai (the then BJP President) said everyone in the party thought I will be the most suitable man. I never expected that. I was in tears, not because I was losing the ministership, which I anyway was going to leave.”
He said he was overcome by emotion then for a simple reason — that from the next day, he would not be able to go to the BJP office or meet party workers.
Naidu said he was worried about the future of the movement (ABVP, RSS), which left him in tears.
“I joined the movement at a young age and the party gave me everything, except Prime Ministership, for which I am not suitable. I know my capacities and calibre,” he said.
Advocating the need to set up Supreme Court benches in different regions in the country to bring the judicial system closer to the people, Naidu suggested that the first such bench be set up in Chennai.
The VP also wanted the work of the apex court to have two divisions – one dealing with Constitutional matters and another with appeals – to deal with civil and criminal cases pending for over 25 years.
Referring to striking down of the National Judicial Appointments Commission by the Supreme Court and upholding of the collegium system, Naidu indicated that the latter was not foolproof.
“In the collegium system, judges held a press conference and found fault with their colleagues. So what is the remedy? One must understand the practical problems and come up with a broad idea,” Naidu said.
On the role of the media as an honest messenger, he said there is a need for media literacy to identify fake news, biased analysis and material intended to promote hatred, division and discontent.
“News and views are separate…Media should give news and leave the judgement to people. They must have self-code of conduct, for Print media there is Press Council of India. For electronic media, such thing must come. Some beginning has been made and it should strengthen further,” Naidu said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was also present at the event, said he had a “sweet complaint” that Naidu is extra strict with Treasury benches and every minister is afraid of him.