New Delhi, July 17: Venkaiah Naidu was declared as the candidate of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance for the Vice President’s post. The decision was taken on Monday, following the BJP executive meeting here, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The election for the coveted constitutional post would be held on August 5.
“BJP is proud to announce Venkaiah Naidu ji as the vice presidential candidate of NDA. He has spent 25 years in Indian politics, serving as the Rajya Sabha MP on 4 occasions. In the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji, Venkaiah ji served as Union Minister for Rural Development. In the Narendra Modi government, he has been serving as the Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Urban Development,” BJP president Amit Shah said, while addressing the reporters.
Naidu, on being asked by press in the past month whether he would be inclined to serve as the President or Vice President, had replied, “I have no intention to become the rashtrapati or uprashtrapati. I am happy serving as Usha-pati (husband of his wife Usha).” ALSO READ: Who is Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the Opposition’s pick for vice presidential polls?
The veteran BJP leader further remarked that he wants to continue to remain involved in the party activities on ground, which would not be possible after getting appointed to the top constitutional posts.
However, Shah claimed that the decision to project him as the vice presidential candidate was taken only after his approval. “We held talks with all constituents of NDA. Everyone’s approval was sought, especially Venkaiah ji’s,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi welcomed the candidature of Naidu for the Vice President’s post, calling him a “dedicated colleague who would be a fitting candidate for the office of Vice President.”
“A farmer’s son, M VenkaiahNaidu Garu brings years of experience in public life and is admired across the political spectrum. The years of Parliamentary experience Garu has will help him discharge the important role of Rajya Sabha Chairperson,” Modi said.
In the past week, the Opposition bloc comprising of 17 political parties announced Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the former West Bengal Governor, as their joint candidate for the vice presidential polls. ALSO READ: Venkaiah Naidu to file nomination at 11 AM tomorrow: Shah
Addressing a meeting of Opposition leaders on Sunday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi appealed the non-NDA camp to extend support towards the candidature of Gandhi. “Gopal Krishna ji would efficiently play the role of vice president in such period of crisis which has best the nation,” she remarked.
Conceding the fact that numbers are stacked up against the Opposition in both the presidential and vice presidential polls, Sonia Gandhi stated, “Numbers may be against us. But battle must be fought, and fought hard.”
The incumbent Vice President, Dr Hamid Ansari, was elected to the post in 2007. Ansari, 79, would be demitting Office on August 9.