Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu has unexpectedly emerged the top contender ahead of the BJP parliamentary board meeting to pick its vice-presidential candidate, according to newspaper report. This is on account of the numbers stacked in its favour.
These niceties are the least of Modi's concerns keen as he is to snuff out the opposition in the country in pursuit of the rather hard proposition of striving for a "Congress mukt Bharat" in the near future.
Opposition choice: UPA candidates Meira Kumar and Gopal Krishna Gandhi in New Delhi on Sunday. However, that was not to be.
She singled out Meira Kumar's role as Lok Sabha Speaker as a "duty she performed with great forbearance and with vast dignity", while saying Gopalkrishna Gandhi has distinguished himself as a public intellectual, civil servant, diplomat, author and Governor, and who "has not failed to stand up to those who promote fear as they seek to suppress freedom and diversity". Meira Kumar and Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who are presidential and vice-presidential candidates of major opposition parties, were present.
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The BJP is bound to be guarded about its Vice Presidential nominee. Moreover the party wants a candidate who is capable of running the Rajya Sabha where the BJP has had its fair share of problems.
Senior Congress leaders who were busy campaigning in the states under their charge maintained on Sunday that they were confident of drumming up adequate support for the Opposition candidates, not just from their own MPs and MLAs, but were also "hoping" for a "change of heart" in elected representatives of other parties too.
However, Gopalakrishna Gandhi also has the dark side filing the mercy petition with the President of India for Terrorist Yakub Memon who was convicted over his involvement in the 1993 Bombay bombings and was later hanged to death in 2015. The opposition feels it has outsmarted the BJP by announcing Gopal Gandhi's candidature well in advance besides denying the JD (U) the elbow room to rethink.