New Delhi: The BJP is likely to name information and broadcasting and urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu as its nominee for the vice-presidential elections coming up next month.
The party’s parliamentary board meet has started at 6 pm. The formal announcement will be made after the meeting.
With the numbers clearly pitched in the government’s favour, Naidu is likely to be the next vice-president of the country, after Hamid Ansari, who served two terms that get over next month.
Naidu will be contesting against Gopalkrishna Gandhi,+ a joint candidate of the 18 opposition parties, for the vice presidential polls.
Party sources said Naidu will be suitable as he will have the additional responsibility to run the Rajya Sabha as chairman of the house of elders.
The BJP is keen to have a vice presidential candidate representing one of the southern states, after having nominated Ram Nath Kovind who represents Uttar Pradesh. Naidu fits the bill as he hails from the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh(that has now been bifurcated into two states) and is also connected to Tamil Nadu.
With this, the party hopes to gain a stronghold in south India. Karnataka is the only southern state where BJP has a significant political presence.
The names of Naidu and Maharashtra governor Vidyasagar Rao have been doing the rounds as probables to be the next vice-president.
However, cabinet reshuffle/expansion will be imperative after Naidu’s exit from the union ministry since he is currently holding two key portfolios of urban development and information and broadcasting.