Ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) head and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Tuesday announced his party's support to Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the Opposition's candidate for the Vice-Presidential election.
The vice presidential election is scheduled to be held on August 5. It is very painful to leave the party.
He had declared he would neither want to become the rashtrapati (president) nor uparashtrapati (vice president) but was happy being Usha's pati (his spouse).
When questioned during a discussion by reporters in May of this year, Venkaiah Naidu displayed his art of playing words and said himself out of the race for President and Vice-President. He has tact, good personal relations with political leaders from across the spectrum, a sense of humour and the good sense to appreciate the value of diversity (he is an avid carnivore in a party mostly of vegetarians, at least at the leadership level). "It can be expected to brandish the prestigious assignment for Venkaiah as a symbol of its goodwill for the region, though the alliance with TDP in Andhra and occasional flirtations with CM of Telangana, K Chandrashekar Rao, could prove to be impediments". Moreover, in states like Tamil Nadu, where the BJP is constantly meddling and acting behind the scenes, having a Naidu in a top ceremonial post would mean easier negotiations. He will make an excellent chairman of the Upper House. Currently, he is holding charge of Urban Affairs and Information and Broadcasting.
He said he wanted to see Mr Modi's return to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and then join social service but "destiny decided otherwise". This apart, Parliamentary Board and Rajya Sabha (Naidu is elected from Rajasthan) will have one vacancy each. Given that Rajya Sabha would remain a site of potential conflict over the pending Bills, this crucial experience comes in Naidu's favour.
He was also elected twice to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. BJP are now in alliance with Chandrababu Naidu's TDP in Andhra Pradesh and are eyeing Karnataka in 2018 assembly elections.
The former party president from Andhra Pradesh had to "withdraw" from the BJP to contest for the constitutional post. In the party too, he has held important positions.
He also said that "India's strength and beauty lie in Parliamentary democratic system". Interestingly, at a time when BJP and the Sangh is espousing vegetarianism coming down heavily on cow-slaughter and beef trade, Naidu is a true blue non-vegetarian.
Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Y.S. Chowdary said that Telugu people are proud over the choice of Venkaiah Naidu.
The ruling party has projected Kovind as a leader from the Dalit community, which is at the lowest end of the complex hierarchy of caste in Hinduism.
Office of Vice President is a different profile, has its functional norms.