Prime Minister Narendra Modi today highlighted NDA nominee M Venkaiah Naidu’s extensive parliamentary and field experience, saying he would perhaps be the first vice president with such vast legislative exposure. At a get-together of party leaders and allies to felicitate Naidu before he filed his nomination, Modi said even leaders from opposition parties, who may not be voting for him, approved of his candidature and that was Naidu’s big “achievement”, BJP sources said quoting the prime minister. In a lighter vein, Modi said the treasury benches in the Rajya Sabha, of which Naidu will be chairman if elected, “will not let his blood pressure go up” and offer him their fullest cooperation.
He said there has been no vice president with the kind of legislative experience as a Rajya Sabha member that Naidu has. The former BJP president is a four-time member of the House. He has travelled across the country, including to the districts, and studied first-hand the problems people faced, Modi said, adding that this experience would add “value to the system”. The prime minister said he appreciated his inputs on agriculture policies even though Naidu was never an agriculture minister. Modi also noted that record polling had taken place for the presidential poll held yesterday and that sent out “a very good message”. It was also a very dignified campaign, he said.
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BJP president Amit Shah said Naidu’s election as vice president would be a big loss to the party but it was a matter of pride that “such an able” person would occupy the position. BJP leaders told reporters that his nomination showed the “importance” the party accorded to “cooperative federalism and healthy parliamentary functioning” as he had a vast experience and would be, if elected, the only vice president to have served as a parliamentary affairs minister. They also noted that the only vice president to have come from the BJP was Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who also had years of political experience as the Rajasthan chief minister. Naidu had represented Karnataka, a southern state, and as well as Rajasthan, a northern state, in the Upper House, they said.
Son of a farmer, Naidu is a grassroot-level and “self- made politician”, they said. With the NDA commanding a strong majority in the electoral college that votes for the vice president, Naidu is almost certain to win the election scheduled for August 5.