Vice Presidential election 2017: Five controversies that hit NDA candidate Venkaiah Naidu

The BJP–led ND A candidate Venkaiah Naidu is slated to win the Vice Presidential polls against the Opposition’s nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi with numbers being in favour of the ruling dispensation.

Naidu was the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting in the Narendra Modi government. Earlier he served as rural development minister in the Vajpayee government and was also the party president under whose stewardship BJP lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

Even as Naidu is poised to occupy the constitutional post here’s look at some of the controversies that has hit him in the recent past:

  • Naidu sparked controversy when he claimed that religious conversions had been happening for over 200 years. To quote him, “Conversions and re-conversions have happened in India since the last 200 years. A lot of foreign money is being spent on conversions and it is an open secret.” He was slammed by the Opposition including the Congress, NCP, CPI and others like the All India Imam Organization.

  • He stoked controversy over use of Hindi language saying that it was the identity of the Indians. “Hindi is our mother tongue, our identity. We should be proud of it”, Naidu had said and had termed the use of use of English language as damaging to the progress of India. “We have trained our minds like English people. This is not in the interests of the nation”, he had said.Needless to say, he was yet again slammed by the Opposition, especially by parties from South India, like the DMK.

  • Naidu did have an uncanny way of courting controversies. He did it again when he called asking for loan waiver by farmers as a fashion. He was quoted as saying, “Loan waiver has become fashion now. Loan should be waived but in extreme situations.” To make matters worse, his comments had come at time when UP, Maharashtra and Punjab governments had announced farm loan waivers and Madhya Pradesh was witnessing violent protests by farmers. He was yet again attacked by the Opposition like the CPI(M).

  • Then he caught eyeballs when he had termed PM Modi as ‘God’s gift for India’ and ‘the messiah of the poor’. Some saw his comments as being inconsistent with the line of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh which does not approve of cult worship.

  • Naidu was recently attacked by the Congress over issues of probity. They alleged that the Telangana government had placed a direct order for purchase of vehicles with a company (Harsha Toyota) belonging to his son. They also said that the Telangana government had granted exemption from Rs 2-crore charges to a trust (Swarna Bharat Trust) in which his daughter was a managing trustee. However, Naidu refuted the allegations saying that they reflected political motives and the mischievous intentions.”
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