Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu will be the NDA's vice presidential candidate, the party sources confirmed on Monday. In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "A farmer's son, M VenkaiahNaidu Garu brings years of experience in public life and is admired across the political spectrum".
Naidu was minister of rural development from 2000 to 2002 in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, and now serves as both the minister of housing and urban poverty alleviation, and information and broadcasting.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has allowed 14 Rajya Sabha members and 41 Lok Sabha MPs to vote in state legislative assemblies instead of Parliament on Monday. The opposition parties discussed and revealed that Gopalakrishna Gandhi will be their candidate for Vice-President.
Naidu will file his nomination tomorrow at 11 AM, Shah said. He has since twice served as the party president, in 2002 and 2004. Once a protege of LK Advani, Naidu vigorously backed Narendra Modi for the prime minister's post before the 2014 elections. Though K Jana Krishnamurthi and Bangaru Laxman both rose to be presidents of the BJP from the South, neither had the same reach and influence that Venkaiah has.
Publicly, the 68-year-old Naidu continued to maintain that he was not interested in a constitutional post.
With the Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind hailing from Uttar Pradesh, the party is believed to have looked for a Vice President candidate from the south, and Naidu fitted the bill.More news: Neymar considering Barcelona exit: Man Utd could move for Brazil star
July 18 is the last date for filing of nomination for the post of Vice-President.
Perhaps this was the reason why the BJP was in no hurry to announce its V-P candidate, and waited for the Opposition to come up with its own first.
The BJP is keen to install its leader, most likely from the southern part of the country, as the next vice president after incumbent Hamid Ansari's tenure comes to an end.
Addressing a meeting of opposition leaders and Party MPs, Gandhi said in these contests, the numbers may be against us but the battle must be fought and fought hard. BJP chief Amit Shah called Naidu on Sunday evening to confirm that he was going to be NDA's vice-presidential candidate.
The ruling bloc enjoys an overwhelming majority in the electoral college and BJP has expressed confidence about garnering anywhere between 500 and 550 votes.