Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, ‘M Venkaiah Naidu is a fitting candidate for the office of Vice President’, on Monday soon after the senior BJP leader was chosen as the ruling NDA’s candidate.
The Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Venkaiah Naidu has been announced as the ruling NDA candidate for the upcoming vice-presidential election 2017, which is scheduled to be held on August 5. Naidu’s name comes as a surprise for many.
Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu is an Indian politician serving as the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information and Broadcasting in the Narendra Modi ministry.
A prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he has also served as its national president from 2002 to 2004. Earlier, he was the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Naidu, who has always been at the forefront of all issues BJP raised, brings with him a great experience and a political career full of achievements.
His oratory skills and political activism propelled his political career and Naidu was first elected as an MLA to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly twice from Udayagiri constituency in Nellore district in 1978. He again served as an MLA in 1983.
He acquired a degree in law from the Andhra University, he was made the President of the ABVP union of all colleges under Andhra University. His initial fame is accredited to his involvement in the Jai Andhra Movement in 1972.
Naidu won accolades for aggressively pushing for reforms in Rural development and for the many schemes introduced during this period such as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described 68 year old Naidu as a farmer’s son who brings years of experience in public life and is admired across the political spectrum.
Venkaiah Naidu was popular for his brilliant oratory skills. In his initial days in politics, Naidu championed the cause of the farmers and the development of backward areas. Naidu went on to become one of the most popular BJP leaders in Andhra Pradesh.
Narendra Modi said, ‘he has always admired the hard work and tenacity of Naidu, currently a minister in his Cabinet holding the portfolios of Information and Broadcasting and Urban Development’.
‘I know M VenkaiahNaidu Garu for years. Have always admired his hard work & tenacity. A fitting candidate for the office of Vice President,’ the prime minister tweeted, soon after the announcement of the decision of BJP’s Parliamentary Board, the highest decision making body of the party.
‘The years of Parliamentary experience M VenkaiahNaidu Garu has will help him discharge the important role of Rajya Sabha Chairperson,’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi added.
‘The Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, a veteran BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh, will be NDA’s vice presidential candidate’, said the party president Amit Shah. The BJP President described him as the perfect choice, given his long political career and a parliamentary innings spanning 25 years. Shah said, ‘Venkaiah was the unanimous choice’.
Announcing his candidature, Shah heaped praise on the Andhra Pradesh leader, who is known for his witty rhymes and has often voiced the government’s and the party’s stand on key issues while taking on the opposition.
‘He is among our most senior leaders. Since 1970, he has been in public life. He was in the ABVP the RSS’ student wing, was a prominent leader in the South connected to the JP movement. He was General Secretary and twice President of the BJP. He has been MP of the Rajya Sabha for four terms. For 25 years he has had a parliamentary career,’ said Shah.
Venkaiah Naidu was chosen at the BJP parliamentary board meeting attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior party leaders BJP President Amit Shah, and senior ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj.
The former BJP president is pitted against GopalKrishna Gandhi, who was chosen by an alliance of 18 opposition parties, including the Congress but his election is almost inevitable due to the NDA’s huge numerical superiority over the opposition.
Nominations for the election to the post will close on Tuesday and polling will be held on August 5. Counting of votes will also be taken up on the same day.
The election consists of 790 MPs of the two chambers of parliament. Out of the 790 MPs, 245 are from the Rajya Sabha and 543 from the Lok Sabha.
The election for Vice-President is decided by the system of proportional representation, by means of a single transferable vote. Nominated members of Parliament are also eligible to be included in the Electoral College and therefore are entitled to participate in the election.
The term of Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is also ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, ends on August 10.
Venkaiah Naidu’s nomination is seen as part of the saffron party’s attempts to expand in south India, which has been identified by Shah as a key region for growth before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
While the Opposition seeking an ideological battle in the Vice Presidential election by fielding former West Bengal Governor and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the BJP is also seeking to counter the campaign effectively by counting on Naidu’s ‘craft of countering political adversaries’.