New Delhi: Senior BJP leader and party veteran Venkaiah Naidu was picked up as the ruling NDA's vice-presidential candidate to contest against Opposition nominee Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
Naidu's name was finalised at a meeting of the BJP parliamentary board here attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and other senior party leaders.
As the 68-year-old leader filed his nomination today, we take a look at some of the factors that helped him become the top choice of NDA for the post:
The BJP was keen to have someone from southern India as its Vice President candidate. Naidu is a veteran BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh and therefore, his candidature falls in neatly with the party's big plans for expanding its foot in the south, especially Andhra and Telangana.
By finalising Naidu's name as the vice presidential candidate, the NDA has tried to balance the political equations between North and South. And NDA has already nominated a north Indian Ram Nath Kovind as the Presidential candidate who comes from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
He is among the most experienced leader in the BJP. Earlier, speaking about Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that it was latter's experience that made him a fitting candidate to become the Rajya Sabha member.
The party also sees clear advantages in the seasoned MP, as Vice President, running the Rajya Sabha, the house where the government is in a minority. Naidu has been a member of Rajya Sabha for over four decades and therefore, it is being speculated that the BJP veteran will ensure that the House functions properly.
Being a fourth term Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, Naidu has long experience as a member of the Upper House of the Parliament and also in the Union Cabinet as the Minister.
Naidu is among those BJP leaders who has a cross-party accessibility. He comes with a clean image and good public profile. All the constituent parties of NDA accepted him unanimously as the candidate. He has a good hold over all the allies of BJP.
Very few people are aware of the fact that during the Emergency, Naidu was imprisoned under Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) between 1975 and 1977.In 1974, he became the convener of the anti-corruption Jayaprakash Narayan Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti of Andhra Pradesh.
Both as a student leader and political figure, Naidu gained prominence as a brilliant orator, who vigorously championed the cause of the farmers and the development of backwards areas. His oratory skills and political activism propelled his political career and he was elected as an MLA to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly twice from Udayagiri constituency in Nellore district in 1978 and 1983.