New Delhi: Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu is the BJP’s choice for Vice Presidential candidate against Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the opposition’s nominee.
BJP chief Amit Shah announced the decision after a meeting of top BJP leaders headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening. Mr Naidu will file his nomination tomorrow for the August 5 election.
“Whatever the parliamentary board decides, that is final,” Mr Naidu, the Urban Development Minister, had said before the meeting.
“I am neither runner up, nor winner up. I am not aspiring to be anything, there is no such habit in BJP. The party decides,” he asserted, not denying that he was the party’s choice but telegraphing that he was less than enthusiastic about the job.
But the party had more or less decided even before the meeting, it appeared; a note on the 68-year-old’s “journey to VP’s office” was shared even before any decision was announced.
Mr Naidu checks important boxes for the party – he shares a good equation with all parties, is seen as the right man to run smoothly the Rajya Sabha, where the Vice President is chairman and where the government is currently in a minority, and he believes in the core values of the BJP and its ideological mentor the RSS.
Like in the case of President, the BJP’s Vice President nominee is also expected to sail through; with the backing of southern parties like AIADMK, Telengana Rashtra Samiti and YSR Congress, the government candidate is likely to win the votes of 557 MPs in the electoral college of 787 MPs.
Mr Naidu, it is believed, needed some convincing. “I neither want to become Rashtrapati (president), nor do I want to become uprashtrapati (vice president). I am happy being Usha’s pati (wife Usha’s husband),” he said in May. Last month, he stressed: “Never am I going to participate in the vice-presidential elections even if anyone compels me.”