- 18 opposition parties chose Gopal Gandhi for Vice President
- Amit Shah talks to RSS, PM Modi to ministers, about their choice
- Election for Vice-President to be held next month
PM Narendra Modi's closest aide, Amit Shah, held similar consultations today with top leaders of their party's ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS. Mr Shah, who is the president of the BJP, met with Dr Krishna Gopal Sharma, or "Gopalji" and Suresh "Bhaiyyaji" Joshi, for their inputs.
The PM Narendra Modi and Mr Shah will share their preference with the BJP's top decision-making body, its parliamentary board which has 12 members, in a day or two, said sources. With its allies on board, the BJP should have no problem winning the election given how many MPs they have.
Sources said that the BJP and its advisors have a three-factor requirement of their candidate: a background as a rigorous subscriber to the core values of the BJP and the RSS; the ability to run smoothly the Rajya Sabha, of which the Vice President serves as the Chairman and where the government is currently in a minority and often finds itself cornered by the opposition on important legislation and debates; and to represent a key support base of the BJP, just like Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit leader who is the party's choice for President.
On Monday, law-makers will elect the new President; Ram Nath Kovind is up against former Speaker Meira Kumar, who is also a Dalit. With the BJP accruing more than 60% of the vote together with allies and regional parties who it has co-opted, Ram Nath Kovind is likely to be elected easily.
The election for Vice President will be held on August 5.
The opposition has created a faction of 18 parties to jointly field Gopal Gandhi. In the matter of selecting its presidential nominee, it dithered, resulting in a key member, Nitish Kumar, prancing over to support the BJP. By making the first move for Vice-President, the opposition has tried to correct its earlier mistake and has retained the Bihar Chief Minister in its fold.