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Posted at: Jul 18, 2017, 1:56 AM; last updated: Jul 18, 2017, 10:39 AM (IST)

Naidu NDA pick for Vice-Prez

To take on Oppn’s Gopal Gandhi in election scheduled for Aug 5
Naidu NDA pick for Vice-Prez
Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 17

Unlike presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, BJP chief Amit Shah did not surprise today when he announced the name of Union Minister Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu as the party-led NDA’s choice for the August 5 vice-presidential election.

A stalwart who fits BJP’s requirements for its southern outreach and the effective functioning of the Rajya Sabha, where the party-led NDA is in a minority, Naidu’s name had been doing the rounds for some time.

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The BJP’s top decision making body — 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 nomination papers. Naidu will file his papers at 11 am tomorrow.

The PM, who now has to find a replacement for the 68-year-old Naidu in his council of ministers, described him as a farmer’s son who will bring “years of experience in public life and is admired across the political spectrum”.

Naidu later tonight tendered his resignation from both portfolios he was holding in the Modi Cabinet — Information and Broadcasting and Housing and Urban Affairs.

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 Naidu will win with the support of as many as 550 members of the electoral college.

Naidu had earlier ruled himself out of the race for Vice-President, saying he neither wanted to be “rashtrapati” or “uparashtrapati” and was happy being Usha’s “pati”.

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