PM Modi calls Venkaiah Naidu "fitting candidate" for VP post

Who will be the BJP's pick for Vice President?

Since NDA picked Ramnath Kovind (from Uttar Pradesh) as the Presidential candidate, it said to have picked Venkaiah Naidu (from Andhra Pradesh) form South for the coveted job.

BJP president Amit Shah announced the decision of the Parliamentary Board. CM Chandrababu Naidu and Telangana CM KCR have welcomed Venkaiah's name for the Vice-President post.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the meeting, tweeted that he had known the 68-year-old politician for years and had always admired his tenacity and hard work.

Shah described Naidu as a successful minister of the Modi government who was handling Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting ministries.

The vice-presidential elections will be held on August 5 and July 18 was the last day to file nominations.

The fact that a minister of Venkaiah Naidu's experience is being spared for the vice-presidency at this juncture indicates the importance the Modi dispensation gives to lawmaking in the Rajya Sabha in the next two years.

With the BJP looking to consolidate its base in southern part of the country, it was being speculated that the choice of the party leadership would be someone from that region. M Venkaiah Naidu (now Union Urban Development minister) raised Special Status to Andhra Pradesh issue in Rajya Sabha (as opposition member in February 2014) and demanded special category state status to AP. Naidu's co-mascots strategy stunned many in the BJP barring the Advani loyalists.

To another question about whether he would like Naidu to be elected vice president with the support of all parties, including the opposition, Shah said had the opposition parties been keen on a consensus, they would have waited longer and not put up a candidate.

"Never am I going to participate in vice-president election even if anyone compels me", Naidu said.

The ruling BJP-led NDA coalition is confident of getting 500 to 550 votes in favour of its Vice Presidential candidate.

A couple of days ago Shah had met with RSS second-in-command Suresh Bhaiyya ji Joshi and its pointsman with the BJP Krishna Gopal on the vice presidential election. The term of Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is also ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, ends on August 10. Nominated members of Parliament are also eligible to be included in the Electoral College and, therefore, are entitled to participate in the election.

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