BJP to announce V-P candidate on Tuesday; Naidu, TN governor front-runners
The NDA candidate will take on joint opposition’s candidate Gopal Krishna Gandhi, a former governor of West Bengal.india Updated: Jul 16, 2017 23:58 IST
Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Tamil Nadu governor C Vidyasagar Rao have emerged as strong contenders within the NDA for the vice-president’s post, election for which is due on August 5.
The BJP’s parliamentary board will meet on Monday evening to take a call on the NDA’s candidate. At a meeting here on Sunday, NDA allies authorised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pick the ruling coalition’s candidate. Tuesday is the last day to file nomination.
The NDA candidate will take on joint opposition’s candidate Gopal Krishna Gandhi, a former governor of West Bengal.
Selection of either Naidu or Rao would send a signal down south where the BJP is aiming to make inroads ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Naidu is from Andhra Pradesh and Rao hails from Telangana.
While Naidu is currently a senior member in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s team, Rao was a minister of state in the previous NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Both have risen from within party ranks.
Names of Madhubani MP Hukumdev Narayan Yadav, Manipur governor Najma Heptulla, and Kerala governor P Sathasivam, too, did the rounds.
BJP leaders, though, did not rule out the possibility of Modi springing a last-minute surprise, like he did in choosing then Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind as the presidential candidate. The vice-president’s role as the Rajya Sabha chairperson makes the appointment crucial for the ruling coalition.