It was after a call from BJP chief Amit Shah, on Sunday, that Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, came to know that he was be the NDA candidate for vice president. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself called Naidu on Monday morning, asking him to prepare for his elevation.
The BJP chose the minister for information and broadcasting to be the party’s candidate for the vice presidential elections. The BJP chief announced Naidu's name after a meeting of BJP's parliamentary board. Interestingly, 68-year-old Naidu is also a part of the parliamentary board.
"He needs no introduction. He is a veteran politician, cutting across party lines. He is a very experienced leader. He has been active in the political movement since the 70s. He has been involved in student politics. He has also been an active member of JP movement, as its prominent Southern face." Shah said, announcing his name.
He has been associated with the BJP since childhood. He comes from a family with an agrarian background. All NDA members approved his name and parliamentary board also welcomed it, Shah added.
With the numbers firmly loaded in favour of the ruling party, it will not have any problem in getting Naidu elected. Naidu will file his nomination papers on Tuesday.
Naidu's name signals two vital points that has weighed on the minds of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah. To tackle the Rajya Sabha, where currently the opposition members have more numbers; more importantly, a foothold in south India, where the saffron party wants to increase its foot print.
Naidu, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, is party’s most famous face from the south. He was the party president in 2003.
He was elected president of students' union, V.R. College, Nellore, in 1971. Again, he was elected president of students' union of Andhra University Colleges in 1973.
From 1977-1980 he was president of the youth wing of Janata Party, Andhra Pradesh. He was elected MLA for the first time, from Andhra Pradesh, in 1978. He was elected to Rajya Sabha in April 1998.
Naidu scores over Ram Nath Kovind, who will be next President, in terms of parliamentary experience and political heft. Naidu played a key role in engaging with the opposition parties during the negotiations for the GST, and other contentious issues. He was also part of three-member party panel chosen by Shah to hold consultations with opposition for picking up the presidential candidate.
He is currently Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan. He has two children.