NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party, at a parliamentary board meeting headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on today evening, has finalized the union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu as the NDA candidate for Vice Presidential poll.
BJP President Amit Shah, while decalring Naidu's candidature, said that the parliamentary party board meeting was attended by all members.
He also added that the union Information and Broadcasting Minister will file his nomination tomorrow at 11 am.
With 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”.
Even while Modi had not been keen to spare any of his Cabinet members for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections, sources said that the Prime Minister saw a way out in Naidu from the Rajya Sabha maze in which most of the government's legislative agenda was getting stuck on account of lack of numbers for ruling NDA.
The last date for filing nomination papers for the Vice Presidential election is Tuesday.
The term of Vice President Hamid Ansari, who is also ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, ends on August 10.
Prime Minister stressed the background of Naidu as a farmer’s son and his rich Parliamentary experience to state that he would prove to be an effective Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. “I know @MVenkaiahNaidu Garu for years. Have always admired his hardward & tenacity. A fitting candidate for the office of Vice Preseident,” Modi tweeted after the Parliamentary Board meeting of the BJP on Monday evening.
Naidu was first elected as an MLA to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative, twice from Nellore's Udayagiri Constituency in 1978 and 1983.
Then he became the Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka in 1998 after serving BJP in various organisational capacities, both at national and state level.
He also became the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government after National Democratic Alliance (NDA) registered a victory in the 1999 General Elections. He later succeeded Jana Krishnamurthy as BJP's National President in 2002. In 2004, he was elected unopposed for the same post for another three-year term. However, he left that post after NDA's defeat in the parliament elections at that very same year, as party veteran Lalkrishna Advani took over that post.
In 2014, he became a Cabinet Minister in the Narendra Modi-led NDA government after the latter's massive victory in the parliamentary elections that year. He took over the portfolios of Urban Development, Parliamentary Affairs and also Information and Broadcasting.
By choosing Naidu for the Vice-Presidential nomination, the BJP has also sought to address the anomaly of none from the southern parts of the country occupying any of the top four protocol posts of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister and Lok Sabha.
The BJP chief Amit Shah in line with a major expansionary initiative is also seeking to gain foothold for the saffron outfit in Kerala, Telangana, besides Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
(With inputs from PTI, ENS and IANS)