The BJP went on expected lines on Monday, July 17, and chose Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu as its candidate for the upcoming vice-presidential elections.
Naidu will now face Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the Congress candidate for the post of vice-president, when the elections take place on August 5.
Naidu will now file his nomination for the election at 11 am on Tuesday, with his candidature "welcomed by all stakeholders within then NDA," BJP national president Amit Shah said in New Delhi on Monday.
Trouble for Congress?
The Congress had been looking to score a victory in at least the vice-presidential election and hence fielded a candidate whose Gandhi surname they could use to stir old feelings of loyalty in its voter base.
Naidu joining the race means he will give tough competition to Gandhi, especially because he is one of the more popular faces in the current Union Cabinet, and as Amit Shah put it, "one of the senior-most leaders across all parties in the country right now."
The fact that Naidu is from South India could also be a deciding factor. The current sentiment in South India is veering against anti-Hindi, and Naidu could therefore secure more votes from the South than the Hindi-speaking Gandhi.
Who is Venkaiah Naidu?
Born in 1949 in Andhra Pradesh, Venkaiah Naidu has risen through the ranks of the BJP and its precursors to become one of the most prominent faces of the party in recent times.
He has been national president of the saffron party, and has also served as a Member of Parliament multiple times.
Naidu is often known for his witty answers and alliterations. Even before his nomination as vice-presidential candidate for the BJP and the NDA, he had said: "I neither want to become rashtrapati (President), nor do I want to become uprashtrapati (vice-president). I am happy being Usha's pati (husband of Usha)." His wife's name is Usha.