Venkaiah Naidu: Three years in august office
When the name of Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu was announced as the Vice President of India, it came as a surprise not only for many of his friends, but he himself was taken aback a little since he has always been at the forefront of all issues and was an active participant in party’s key decisions
When the name of Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu was announced as the Vice President of India, it came as a surprise not only for many of his friends, but he himself was taken aback a little since he has always been at the forefront of all issues and was an active participant in party's key decisions. There were speculations that in the name of elevation, he has been side-lined by giving a gubernatorial post. But then he accepted the position being a disciplined party soldier and in the last three years of being in office, carved niche for himself and proved that one can leave his mark if he is focussed in his work. He refused to accept the old protocol practices and remained connected with people. One of his great qualities has been that he would remember anyone whom he met in his long political journey by name.
Naidu is known for his unparallel oratory skills. He is also a man who can enjoy a joke and take it in a positive manner unlike the present genre of leaders. During the government of Atal Behari Vajpayee, he was addressing a press conference at Lake View Guest House. He was the Union Minister for Rural Development. A scribe was late by five minutes for the press conference. Naidu, who is known for his punctuality and speaking in three languages, English, Telugu and Hindi, looked at the scribe and said 'for the first time you are late for my press conference'.
The scribe said, "Yes Sir," I have no escort to clear the traffic, but I am sure I will not miss anything since you speak in three languages and I can easily catch up with you." Naidu laughed and enjoyed the comment. Today's generation of reporters can neither comment like that nor will the leaders take it in a positive sense. The Vice President of India continues to display this positive attitude even today and that has been the secret of his success in bringing reforms in Rajya Sabha as its Chairman. It is not a joke to rise from being a member of RSS Shaka which he entered by accident to become the national president of the party, Union Minister and now the Vice President.
He first hogged limelight during his 1972 Jai Andhra movement. He cut his political teeth during the "Emergency" of 1975-77 when he went underground against the government of Indira Gandhi and eventually got jailed. He was accused of disturbing a meeting of Sanjay Gandhi and handcuffed during transit from one jail to the other. In his initial days in politics, Naidu championed the cause of the farmers and the development of backward areas and he went on the become the one of the most popular BJP leaders in Andhra Pradesh. He was first elected as an MLA to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly twice from Udayagiri constituency in Nellore district in 1978. He again served as an MLA in 1983. Naidu hit the national scene when he was one of the prominent opposition spokespersons along with S Jaipal Reddy, who was then in Janata Party, during the campaign by NT Rama Rao after his dismissal as the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister by Indira Gandhi in the 1980s.
Even though the Bharatiya Janata Party was on a weak wicket in southern India, Naidu embraced it tightly. For years, he was the BJP's best-known leader from southern India. Unlike the present-day politicians who cross over to the ruling party the minute elections are over and the party on which they contested loses polls, he remained a loyal party worker.