In a parallel exercise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also consulted the senior ministers on Thursday amid indications that the BJP Parliamentary Board will meet in a day or two to finalise the NDA's candidate for the Vice-President's post falling vacant on August 10 on the retirement of present incumbent Dr Hamid Ansari. In the Modi cabinet, Naidu holds several important portfolios including Housing and Urban Development and Affairs Information and Broadcasting. The opposition parties have chosen former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi as its Vice President candidate. The election to the post of Vice-President will be held on August 5. He said Naidu will file his nomination on Tuesday at 11 a.m. From someone, who as a young party functionary used to make arrangements for Vajpayee's rallies, he became a leader who shared the dais with the Prime Minister.
A total of 776 MPs and 4,120 MLAs were eligible to vote.
Naidu's candidature was unexpected within the political circles, considering his active role in the central government, along with his constant involvement in the political activities of BJP.
From a humble agricultural family in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore district to the highest echelons of power in Lutyens Delhi, it has been a long journey on the political path for 68-year-old Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
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"Never am I going to participate in vice-president election even if anyone compels me", Naidu said.
Even though the counting of the votes will be held on July 20, initial reports suggest that Ram Nath Kovind has emerged as the clear victor. He was elected to Rajya Sabha from Karnataka in 1998 and was re-elected to the house in 2004, 2010and 2016.
With the BJP looking to consolidate its base in southern part of the country, it was being speculated that the choice of the party leadership would be someone from that region. He has also served as the BJP president. In 1974 he became the convenor of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Kshatra Sangharsh Samiti of Andhra Pradesh. The Janata Dal (United) and Biju Janata Dal, who voted in favour of NDA candidate Ramnath Kovind in the presidential election, are yet to announce their support for Naidu.
The BJP President described him as the flawless choice, given his long political career and a parliamentary innings spanning 25 years. PM Modi, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani and Dr Harsh Vardhan, state chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Dr Raman Singh, among others, congratulated Naidu on his nomination and wished him the best.