Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu (born 1 July 1949) is an Indian politician and the current Vice President of India and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, in office since 11 August 2017. Previously, he served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting in the Modi Cabinet. A prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he also served as its national president from 2002 to 2004. Earlier, he was the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He took the oath as Vice-President of India and the Chairman of Rajya Sabha on 11 August 2017.
Venkaiah Naidu was born on 1 July 1949 at Chavatapalem; Nellore district of Madras State, now in Andhra Pradesh, to Rangaiah Naidu and Ramanamma. He completed his schooling from Zilla Parshad High School, Bucchireddy Palem (Nellore), and pursued his bachelor's degree in politics and diplomatic studies from V. R. College, Nellore. Later, he acquired a bachelor's degree in law with specialisation in international law from Andhra University College of Law, Visakhapatnam. He was a swayamsevak in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and joined ABVP during his college days. He was elected as the president of the students' union of colleges affiliated to the Andhra University. He came into the spotlight for his prominent role in the Jai Andhra Movement of 1972. While Kakani Venkata Ratnam led the movement from Vijayawada, Naidu took active part in the agitation in Nellore, until it was called off a year later.
In 1974, he became the convener of the anti-corruption Jayaprakash Narayan Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti of Andhra Pradesh. He took to the streets in protest against the Emergency and was imprisoned. From 1977 to 1980, he was president of its youth wing.
Both as a student leader and political figure, Naidu gained prominence as an orator, who championed the cause of the farmers and the development of backward areas. His oratory skills and political activism propelled his political career and he was elected as an MLA to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly twice from Udaygiri constituency in Nellore district in 1978 and 1983. He rose to become one of the most popular leaders of the BJP in Andhra Pradesh.
After serving in various organisational posts of the BJP at the state and national level, he was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka in 1998. He was re-elected twice, in 2004 and 2010, from Karnataka. He served as the party spokesperson from 1996 to 2000, bringing to the job his panache for quirky alliterations and similes. Unlike most politicians from southern India, Naidu made an effort to master Hindi, going on to address public rallies in northern India.
After the NDA victory in the 1999 general elections, he became the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development in the government headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He was known for aggressively pushing for reforms in rural development and for the many schemes introduced during this period such as the 'Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.'
President of Bhartiya Janata Party (2002–2004)
Naidu succeeded Jana Krishnamurthi as the National President of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2003. On 28 January 2004, he was elected unopposed for a full three-year term. After the defeat of the BJP-led NDA in the 2004 general elections, he resigned from his post on 18 October 2004 and was succeeded by L. K. Advani. However, he remained at the forefront of the BJP as one of its senior vice-presidents and an important campaigner. Naidu raised Special Status to Andhra Pradesh issue in Rajya Sabha (as opposition member in February 2014) and demanded special category state status to AP. The Prime Minister agreed to it, though it was not included in the AP Reorganization Act.
Minister of Urban Affairs
Following the victory of the BJP in the 2014 general elections, he was sworn in as the Minister for Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs on 26 May 2014.
Naidu is also involved with the Swarna Bharat Trust, a social service organization founded by him in Nellore. The trust runs a school for poor, orphaned and special-needs children and imparts self-employment training programs, especially for women and youth.
He was nominated by the BJP on 29 May 2016 for the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan and was elected.
Vice Presidency (2017–present)
On 5 July 2016, he concurrently served as Minister of Information and Broadcasting. A year later, he resigned from both offices to contest the 2017 vice presidential election. He won the election to become India's 13th Vice President. He obtained 516 votes against UPA candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who received 244 votes.
- 1973–74: President, Students' Union, Andhra University
- 1974: Convener, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Yuvajana Chatra Sangharsha Samithi, Andhra Pradesh
- 1977–80: President, Youth Wings of Janata Party, Andhra Pradesh
- 1978–85: Member, Legislative Assembly, Andhra Pradesh (2 terms)
- 1980–85: Leader, B.J.P Legislative Party in Andhra Pradesh
- 1985–88: General Secretary, Andhra Pradesh State BJP
- 1988–93: President, Andhra Pradesh State BJP
- 1993 – September 2000: National General Secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party
- Secretary, BJP Parliamentary Board
- Secretary, BJP Central Election Committee
- Spokesperson of the BJP
- Since 1998: Member, Rajya Sabha from Karnataka (3 terms)
- 30 September 2000 – 1 July 2002: Minister of Rural Development
- 1 July 2002 – 5 October 2004: National President, Bharatiya Janata Party
- Since April 2005: National Vice-President, Bharatiya Janata Party.
- 2014–2017: Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs
- 2016–2017: Minister of Information and Broadcasting
- 2017–present: Vice-President of India
Awards and honours
- University for Peace: Honorary Doctorate (Honoris causa) (8 March 2019)
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