Indian ruling party BJP picked Union urban development and I&B minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday as its candidate for Vice-President.
BJP chief Amit Shah made the announcement at a press meet after a meeting of the Parliamentary Board endorsed the candidature of 68-year-old Naidu.
The election for the Vice President of India will take place on August 5.
I know M Venkaiah Naidu Garu for years. Have always admired his hard work and tenacity.A fitting candidate for the office of Vice-President," Modi tweeted soon after Shah made the announcement.
Naidu was seen as among the probables for President until Modi decided against relieving any of his cabinet colleagues for Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Asked whether Naidu, one of the senior-most ministers was happy about the decision, Shah said, "He is a disciplined party cadre and accepted the decision happily." The choice of Naidu, a senior BJP leader who served as chief of the party, was influenced by the twin considerations of striking a regional balance after Kovind was chosen to be NDA's presidential candidate and having an experienced pair of hands as Chaiman of the Rajya Sabha, easily the most important role of a VP.
This will mark the return of a politician to an office which is in the table of precedence is next only to President and ranks above the PM. Ansari who served two terms, the second one a compensation for Congress leadership's failure to secure enough support for his nomination for President, was a career diplomat.
While Naidu was always seen as a hot contender, Modi and Shah kept up the suspense over the decision until the day before nominations were to close. Modi said "a farmer's son, Venkaiah Naidu brings years of experience in public life and is admired across the political spectrum". "The years of parliamentary experience Venkaiah Naidu has will help him discharge the important role of Rajya Sabha Chairperson," he tweeted.
While making the announcement, Shah recalled the vast parliamentary experience Naidu has gained in his political career since he joined politics in 1970. "Venkaiahji is one of the most respected politicians across political parties. His name was finalised after consulting all NDA partners and the parliamentary board was unanimous about his candidature," the BJP chief said.
He recalled Naidu's tenure as rural development minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee ministry and now the urban development and IB ministries in the Modi government. Shah also said the VP nominee was the prominent face from the South during the JP movement and held various positions in the BJP organisation right from students' wing to being two time-party chief.