New Delhi: The BJP on Monday officially announced its senior leader Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu, 68, a “farmer’s son”, as the NDA’s vice-presidential candidate for the August 5 election. Famous for his oratory skills, the former BJP president and Union minister will file his nomination on Tuesday and take on the Opposition’s candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
The vice-president also officiates as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. On his candidature, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “A fitting candidate for the office of Vice-President.”
Hailing from Andhra Pradesh, Mr Naidu is a prominent BJP face from South India and had been jailed during the Emergency.
Known for his quirky one-liners and rhymes, Mr Naidu is often seen passionately defending Mr Modi, his policies and taking on the Opposition in both Houses of Parliament. He had once described Mr Modi as the “gift to the nation from God” and “messiah of the poor”.
Mr Naidu had vigorously backed Mr Modi for the prime ministership before the 2014 elections.
In fact, Mr Naidu had coined the term “MODI — Making of Developed India”, which was the official theme of the BJP and the government’s outreach campaign on the occasion of its third anniversary in office.
RSS hand in nomination
Mr Naidu’s name was announced by BJP president Amit Shah after the meeting of the party’s parliamentary board on Monday evening.
Mr Naidu, sources said, had a meeting with Mr Modi at Parliament House on Monday morning, where he was apparently told about the party and RSS’ decision to nominate him for the vice-president’s post.
The electoral college for the vice-presidential election consists of members of both Houses of Parliament, including the nominated members, which is currently at 786, as there are two vacancies each in both Houses. The numbers seem to favour Mr Naidu, with the ruling party claiming Mr Naidu will get more than 500 votes as the BJP-led NDA already has 338 members in the Lok Sabha. Though the NDA is in a minority in the Rajya Sabha, some non-NDA parties including AIADMK, BJD, TRS and YSRCP, which are already backing the NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, are also likely to vote in favour of Mr Naidu.
Though his name was officially announced by the BJP on Monday evening, Mr Naidu, who is well respected across party lines, was seen receiving congratulations from leaders of different parties in Parliament since the morning.
Associated with the Jan Sangh, the BJP’s former avatar, since the 1970s, Mr Naidu had closely worked with many Sangh Parivar stalwarts and party patriarch Atal Behari Vajpayee and veteran leader L.K. Advani. He was also a Cabinet minister in the Vajpayee government. Having extensively travelled across the country for organisational activities, Mr Naidu played a key role in bringing the TDP into the NDA fold and in gaining TRS backing for the NDA presidential nominee.
Mr Naidu currently holds the portfolios of information and broadcasting and housing and urban affairs. He was also parliamentary affairs minister earlier in the Modi government.
Venkaiah Naidu is only the 2nd Telugu politician who will make it as the V-P
- The first was V.V. Giri, Vice-President from 1967-69. He went on to become President from 1969 to 1974. The poll was necessitated by the death of Zakir Hussain, who was born in Hyderabad.
- Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy from Anantapur was President from 1977 to 1982; he was never Vice-President.
- Two Governors who served at the Hyderabad Raj Bhavan became Vice-Presidents: Shankar Dayal Sharma and Krishna Kant.
What they said
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet
A farmer’s son, M. Venkaiah Naidu Garu brings years of experience in public life and is admired across the political spectrum. I know him for years. Have always admired his hardwork & tenacity. A fitting candidate for the office of Vice-President.
Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, YSRC Chief
Being a Telugu, we will extend our support to Venkaiah Naidu. Our party’s stand has been that election to constitutional posts like president, vice-president and Lok Sabha speaker should be unopposed. So, we will fully support him.”
Amit Shah, BJP President
He has been with the BJP since he was very young. He hails from a farmer’s family and held important organisational posts in the party.
Yogi Adityanath, UP Chief Minister
His contribution has made him popular both in northern India and all over the country... his love for Hindi is known to all. The decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP parliamentary board is a matter of pride for all sections of the society.