The BJP Parliamentary board named Venkaiah Naidu as the NDA alliance’s Vice Presidential candidate in a meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi. His name was announced former Bengal governor and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopal Gandhi was chosen as the Opposition pick for the post. “BJP Parliamentary Board unanimously chose Venkaiah Naidu as our vice-presidential candidate and all NDA allies have welcomed this decision. He has also accepted the nomination,” BJP president Amit Shah said at a press conference after the meeting. Naidu will file his application for his candidature tomorrow at 11am. Naidu is currently serving as Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation as well as Information and Broadcasting, but had emerged as the front runner for the vice presidential nomination after he campaigned and toured extensively with NDA’s presidential pick Ram Nath Kovind. The saffron party is also keen on Naidu to boost its presence in South India, and brand itself a pan-India party, an image that has not come easily for a party that began as a temple movement in north India. PM Modi was all praises for Naidu on Twitter, saying that his enormous experience will help him function as chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP is still in minority and needs important management skills to push its agenda for the government. Also, Naidu has been one of the most ardent believers in the core values of Hindutva and RSS, and the nomination scores points with bosses in the parent organisation as well.
The elections for Vice President will be held on August 5, while the last date for filing for the candidature is July 18. An alliance of 18 parties, led by the Congress, have chosen Gopal Gandhi as their candidate. The ruling bloc has expressed their confidence of gathering at least 550 votes in a 790 person electoral college. Vice President Hamid Ansari’s term ends on August 10.