BJP parliamentary board to decide vice-presidential candidate

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice-President Rahul Gandhi cast their votes for the Presidential election on Monday. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu, tipped as among the frontrunners for the post as NDA candidate, today rejected the reports. He will file his nomination paper tomorrow, which is the last date for filing the nominations.

BJP is keen on having a Vice President from southern India where it wants to expand its footprint. According to PTI, this is the first such joint outreach to be attended by all Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs of non-NDA political parties organised in the Parliament annex.

The ruling NDA's relationship with incumbent chairman Hamid Ansari was never warm. In the party too, he has held important positions. Naidu now holds the portfolios of information and broadcasting and housing and urban affairs. He will quit the council of ministers and resign from the upper house to run for the post of Vice President.

According to informed party sources, Naidu's name has nearly been finalised as candidate for the Vice President's post.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind "in advance" and assured him of his government's support, a day before the election to the top constitutional post.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu is sure one among the most experienced leaders BJP has. Has also served as the President of the party between 2002 and 2004. He became the BJP's president in 2003 at an early age of 54. He was elected to the legislative assembly of Andhra Pradesh in 1978 and again in 1983.

Addressing a meeting of the Opposition parties here, Sonia termed the presidential and vice presidential elections as a "clash of ideas" and a "conflict of disparate values".