Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu is the BJP's choice for Vice Presidential candidate against Mahatma Gandhi's grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the opposition's nominee.
- BJP candidate Venkaiah Naidu to file his nomination papers today
- Mr Naidu is contesting against opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi
- Election for Vice President of India is scheduled for August 5
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after a meeting of top BJP leaders, tweeted that he had known the 68-year-old politician for years and had "always admired his hard work and tenacity".
Mr Naidu, the Urban Development Minister, will file his nomination on Tuesday for the August 5 election.
"I am neither runner up, nor winner up. I am not aspiring to be anything, there is no such habit in BJP. The party decides," he had said before the meeting,
But the party had more or less decided even before the meeting, it appeared; a note on his "journey to VP's office" was shared even before any decision was announced.
The choice confirms the importance that the party attaches to improving its presence in south India, especially Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Mr Naidu also checks important boxes for the party; he is the seasoned politician it can trust to run smoothly the Rajya Sabha, where the Vice President is chairman and where the government is in a minority, and he also believes in the core values of the BJP and its ideological mentor the RSS.
The PM referred to his "years of parliamentary experience" and his goodwill across the political spectrum.
On Sunday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi conceded that the opposition doesn't have the numbers but called it a battle that needs to be fought hard.
Like in the case of President, the BJP's Vice President nominee enjoys a clear edge over the his opposition rival. With the backing of southern parties like AIADMK, Telangana Rashtra Samiti and YSR Congress, the government candidate is likely to win the votes of 557 MPs in the electoral college of 787 MPs.
Mr Naidu had earlier ruled himself out as a candidate, either for president or Vice President. "I neither want to become Rashtrapati (president), nor do I want to become uprashtrapati (vice president). I am happy being Usha's pati (wife Usha's husband)," he had said in May.