Though there is no official confirmation, BJP sources said the party is likely to convene its parliamentary board meeting on Monday to announce the name of its nominee for the vice president’s election slated for August 5.
As part of their campaign for the presidential and vice presidential elections, opposition’s candidates Meira Kumar and Gopalkrishna Gandhi would hold an interactive session with MPs of 18 non-NDA parties on Sunday. This apart, Parliamentary Board and Rajya Sabha (Naidu is elected from Rajasthan) will have one vacancy each.
It was only a few weeks ago that Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, 67, stated categorically that he would never participate in vice-presidential elections “even if anyone compels me”. In the 2012 polls, the incumbent Vice President Dr Hamid Ansari won with a mandate of 490 votes, with BJP’s Jaswant Singh receiving the remaining 238. Like NDA’s Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, Mr Naidu comes from a humble background.
Earlier as well, Naidu had gone on record, indicating his reluctance to take up the job, quipping that he wanted to remain “Usha Pati” (husband of Usha, the name of his wife) and not become Upa-Rashtrapati (Vice-President). However what are the top reasons Naidu has been named the BJP nominee to fight the vice-presidential polls? Naidu hails from Andhra Pradesh, and the BJP is looking for inroads into the south of the Vindhyas. Among the south Indian states, it is only in Karnataka that the BJP has a strong presence.
However, most senior BJP leaders and ministers were tight-lipped about who is PM Modi’s choice for the post.
Despite spectacular victories in Uttar Pradesh and Assam, the BJP has been struggling with numbers in the Rajya Sabha, and the situation will not improve till 2018, when it will gain about 10 seats in the Upper House.
Naidu was elected to the Rajya Sabha in April 1998, only to be re-elected in 2004, 2010 and 2016.
Venkaiah Naidu began his political career as an RSS Swayamsevak and ABVP leader during his college days. He served as an MLA twice to AP Legislative Assembly (United) twice from Udayagiri Assembly constituency in Nellore district.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and informed him about the candidature. Having been imprisoned during Emergency, he went on to become the youth wing president of Janata Party in Andhra Pradesh upon his release in 1977 and in a political journey spanning almost four decades rose up the ranks to become BJP’s national president in 2002 and in 2004. He has been a veteran party spokesperson, representing the BJP in various capacities, while elucidating on party positions on important issues.