Vice-Presidential Election 2017: Venkaiah Naidu frontrunner? BJP to meet today to decide NDA candidate

The BJP parliamentary board will meet on Monday to pick NDA’s vice-presidential candidate, Business Standard reportedThe meeting and announcement of their candidate was slated to happen on Sunday, but it was postponed to Monday.

News18 reported that an executive meeting of the BJP parliamentary party will be held on Monday afternoon. Following that, a meeting of all NDA MPs and leaders will take place. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah would be present in the meetings. The meeting of the NDA is important as the alliance lacks numbers in the Rajya Sabha and it will need to pick a candidate acceptable across party lines.

The BJP is confident that it will be able to gather between 500 and 550 votes, according to The Indian Express. The JD(U), while voting for the NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind in the Presidential election will back the UPA candidate in the Vice-Presidential election.

File image of M Venkaiah Naidu. PTI

The front runners for the candidacy include Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao, according to a Hindustan Times report. The selection of either of Naidu or Rao will be part of the BJP’s efforts to make inroads in South India ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Naidu hails from Andhra Pradesh while Rao is from Telangana. The names of Madhubani MP Hukumdev Narayan Yadav, Manipur governor Najma Heptulla, and Kerala governor P Sathasivam were considered too.

Naidu had earlier said that he was not interested in any ceremonial position that would keep him away from the people and would not contest the vice-presidential poll even if someone compelled him. “Never am I going to participate in vice-president elections even if anyone compels me,” he had said. He had further added that he would neither want to become the rashtrapati (president) nor uparashtrapati (vice president) but was happy being Usha’s pati (his spouse).

The Asian Age has said that no major opposition is expected if Naidu is declared the nominee. However after the surprise selection of Ram Nath Kovind for the President’s post, there is a chance that a dark horse could emerge in the Vice-Presidential election too.

The Opposition has already picked Gopalkrishna Gandhi as its candidate.

Shah had earlier met two senior RSS leaders Bhaiyyaji Joshi and Krishna Gopal to discuss the ruling NDA’s candidate for the 5 August Vice President’s election. The RSS is believed to be in favour of the ruling NDA selecting a candidate belonging to the upper caste and southern India for the post of vice-president, in its discussions with the BJP on the issue, sources said.

The elections for the 13th Vice-President of India, if required, will be held on 5 August with the counting too taking place on the same day. The last date for filing nominations is 18 July. The scrutiny will take place on the same day and the last date for withdrawing nomination is 21 July. Members of Parliament will use special pens for marking their choice.

Published Date: Jul 17, 2017 11:24 am | Updated Date: Jul 17, 2017 11:25 am

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