The 68-year-old Venkaiah Naidu was chosen as the NDA’s vice presidential candidate at a meeting of the BJP parliamentary board. He filed his nomination papers with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior BJP leaders by his side. Naidu’s nomination for Vice President is seen as part of the BJP’s attempts to expand in south India which has been identified by party chief Amit Shah as a key region for growth before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Naidu is rewarded for his loyalty and also as surprise to Telangana.
The two-time BJP president is pitted against Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who was chosen by an alliance of 18 opposition parties, including the Congress, but his election is almost inevitable due to the NDA’s huge numerical superiority over the opposition. Naidu served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting in the Modi ministry. A prominent leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he has also served as its national president from 2002 to 2004. Earlier, he was the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural Development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
He came into spotlight for his prominent role in the Jai Andhra Movement of 1972. While Kakani Venkata Ratnam led the movement from Vijayawada, Naidu took active part in the agitation in Nellore, until it was called off a year later. In 1974, he became the convener of the anti-corruption Jayaprakash Narayan Chhatra Sangharsh Samiti of Andhra Pradesh. He took to streets in protest against the emergency and was imprisoned. From 1977–80, he was the president of its youth wing.
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 backward 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. He rose to become one of the most popular leaders of the BJP in Andhra Pradesh.
After having served in various organisational posts of the BJP at the state and national level, he was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka in 1998. He has since been re-elected twice in 2004 and 2010 from Karnataka. He served as the party spokesperson from 1996 to 2000, bringing to the job his panache for quirky alliterations and similes. Unlike most politicians from southern India, Naidu made an effort to master Hindi, going on to address public rallies in northern India.
After NDA’s victory in the 1999 general elections, he became the Union Cabinet Minister for Rural development in the government headed by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He was known for aggressively pushing for reforms in Rural development and for the many schemes introduced during this period such as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
He succeeded Jana Krishnamurthy as the National President of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2002. On 28 January 2004, he was elected unopposed for a full 3-year term. After the defeat of the BJP led NDA in the 2004 general elections, he resigned from his post on 18 October 2004 and was succeeded by L.K. Advani. However, he has remained in the forefront of the BJP as one of its senior vice-presidents and an important campaigner. M Venkaiah Naidu (now Union Urban Development minister) raised Special Status to Andhra Pradesh issue in Rajya Sabha (as opposition member in February 2014) and demanded special category state status to AP. The then Prime Minister agreed to it, though it was not included in the AP Reorganisation Act-2014.
Naidu is also involved with the Swarna Bharath Trust, a social service organisation founded by him in Nellore. The trust runs a school for poor, orphaned and special-needs children and imparts self-employment training programmes especially for women and youth.
In a “farewell” press conference soon after he filed his nomination, he expressed his gratitude to the prime minister and BJP chief Amit Shah as he played down reports that he was not very keen for the new responsibility. Mr Naidu had resigned from the party. He had resigned from the cabinet last night after his candidature was announced. Hope he will be prove to be a good Vice president of India. We wish him all the best.
(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on firstname.lastname@example.org)