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Posted at: Jul 17, 2017, 12:26 PM; last updated: Jul 17, 2017, 9:53 PM (IST)

It’s Venkaiah Naidu vs Gopalkrishna Gandhi for Vice-President’s post

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 17 

Unlike their Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, BJP chief Amit Shah did not surprise when he, on Monday, announced the name of senior leader and Union minister Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu as the party-led NDA’s choice for the post of the Vice-President of the country.

The Vice-Presidential's election will be held on August 5.

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A stalwart from south who fits BJP’s requirements for its southern outreach and the effective functioning of Rajya Sabha where the party-led NDA is in a minority, Naidu’s name has been doing the rounds for the post since long. 

The BJP’s top decision making body-the Parliamentary Board-took the call this evening at a meeting attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a day before the last date of filing the nominations for the post, that is tomorrow.

“BJP Parliamentary Board unanimously chose Venkaiah Naidu as our vice-presidential candidate and all NDA allies have welcomed this decision. He has also accepted the nomination,” Shah said.

Naidu will file his nomination papers tomorrow at 11am, he added. 

The Prime Minister, who now also has the additional responsibility of finding a replacement for the 68-year-old Naidu in his council of minister, described the BJP’s nomination as a farmer's son who will bring “years of experience in public life and is admired across the political spectrum”.

Read — Venkaiah Naidu: From RSS to BJP’s most recognised southern face

The PM said he always admired the hard work and tenacity of Naidu, currently a minister holding the portfolios of Information and Broadcasting and Urban Development in his Cabinet.

Admired across the political spectrum and was a fitting candidate for the office of Vice-President, his Parliamentary experience would help him discharge the important role of Rajya Sabha Chairperson, the Prime Minister said in a series of tweets.

Party sources say the only dilemma before the leadership was regarding the vacancies which would now be added to the Prime Minister’s council of ministers.

However, the leadership wanted to have a Vice-Presidential candidate representing one of the southern states, where it wants to strengthen its presence. After Manohar Parikkar was shifted to Goa as Chief Minister, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is currently holding the dual charge of the Defence Ministry.

Meanwhile, Naidu is pitted against Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the Opposition candidate whose name was endorsed by all 18 Opposition parties, including the JD(U).

However, senior BJP leaders claim their candidate will win with the support of 550 members of the Electoral College-in this case the members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

Naidu, who assisted and accompanied Kovind during his campaign in various states, has friends cutting across the party lines, they add.

The senior leader with penchant for slogans and rhyming has the blessings of the RSS, the BJP’s ideological fountainhead.

Interestingly, earlier while stating that there was no chance of him contesting the Vice-Presidential election, Naidu quipped he neither wants to become the "rashtrapati" (president) nor the "uparashtrapati" (vice-president) and was happy being Usha's "pati" (spouse).

“Never am I going to participate in vice-president election even if anyone compels me”

“Happiness for me is to meet people, be among them and serve them. I cannot stay away from people by taking up any ceremonial position,” he said then.

Naidu is fitting candidate for Vice-President: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed M Venkaiah Naidu as a fitting candidate for the office of Vice-President.

Modi described 68-year-old Naidu as a farmer's son who "brings years of experience in public life and is admired across the political spectrum".

The PM said he has always admired the hard work and tenacity of Naidu, currently a minister in his Cabinet holding the portfolios of Information and Broadcasting and Urban Development.

"I know @MVenkaiahNaidu Garu for years. Have always admired his hardwork & tenacity. A fitting candidate for the office of Vice President," the prime minister tweeted, soon after the announcement of the decision of BJP's Parliamentary Board, the highest decision-making body of the party.

"The years of Parliamentary experience @MVenkaiahNaidu Garu has will help him discharge the important role of Rajya Sabha Chairperson," Modi added. — With agencies



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