New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah met top RSS leaders Bhaiyya Joshi and Krishna Gopal on Thursday to discuss various issues, including the NDA’s vice-presidential candidate. Sources said he would soon meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party’s parliamentary board, its highest decision-making body, to finalise its candidate for the nation’s second-highest constitutional post. The meeting between Mr Shah and the RSS leaders lasted for over half an hour.
Opposition parties have already named Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi, a former IAS officer and diplomat and former West Bengal governor, as their joint candidate.
While the names of former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel, Manipur governor Najma Heptullah, Maharashtra governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, Madhubani MP Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav and senior leader O. Rajagopal are doing the rounds as the NDA’s possible vice-presidential candidate, speculation is rife about a “surprise candidate”. Senior Union minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has already rejected suggestions that his name was being considered for the post. Incidentally, some governors, including Ms Heptullah, Himachal Pradesh’s Acharya Devvrat and UP’s Ram Naik are said to be camping in New Delhi.
The term of incumbent vice-president Hamid Ansari is due to end on August 10 and the election for the next vice-president will be held on August 5. The last day of filing nominations for this election is July 18.
Rajya Sabha secretary-general Shumsher K. Sheriff will be the returning officer for the vice-presidential polls. The electoral college for this poll comprises the elected and nominated members of both Houses of Parliament. The vice-president also serves as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.