BJP has named M Venkiah Naidu as their vice presidential candidate against Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who is the opposition’s nominee. Venkiah Naidu resigned as union minister after his name was announced. After the announcement the Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seeking his support for Mr. Naidu. It is reported that he spoke to Sharad Yadav and Maharashtra leader Sharad Pawar also seeking support for Naidu. Narendra Modi and senior ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj accompanied Mr. Naidu when he filed his nomination for the election on August 5. Naidu was minister for Urban Affairs and Information and Broadcasting and Narendra Tomar and Smriti Irani has been given additional charge of these ministries respectively. 68 year old Venkaiah Naidu is an experienced person in public life and is widely respected across the political circle. This move of BJP in promoting Venkaiah Naidu as the candidate for the post of Vice President is a clear indication that the party has big plans in expanding its base in south, especially Andhra and Telengana. BJP also feels that Venkiah Naidu when elected as Vice President can run the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority, efficiently with his vast political and parliamentary experience. The government estimates that it has the votes of 557 MPs in the electoral college of 787 MPs.
Smrithi Irani meanwhile will hold additional charge of the important Information and Broadcasting Ministry which was handled by Mr. Naidu. Ms. Irani’s term in the Upper House of Parliament, Rajya Sabha will end on August 18 and the elections for Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat, from where Ms Irani represents Rajya Sabha, Bengal and Goa will be held on August 8th, 2017. PM Modi may also relocate the defence ministry and the environment ministry along with the reshuffle. Defence Ministry is held by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley since Manohar Parrikar shifted back to Goa Chief Minister earlier this year.