It is like the man who wanted to continue as a Reporter , being promoted as an Editor . Like a reporter Venkaiah Naidu the VP candidate of NDA wanted to be a live wire, but PM Modi made him an Editor .
It is like an eagle whose wings are clipped.But politics is also the art of the unsaid and that was topped by a beaming Venkaiah indicating that he would be thrilled to be the NDA’s pick. Yes he knows how to make best use of the situation.
Both the CMs from Telugu states and Jagan the YSRC leader are supporting him and the PM has sought the support for Venkaiah. The numbers for his election as Vice-President are on the BJP’s side with some southern comfort from regional parties. What that will deliver is that for the first time ever, both the President and Vice-President will be from the RSS.
Venkaiah 68, is a strategic choice as the BJP seeks to broaden its pan-India footprint and make a push for the southern states. Naidu was born in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh and started his political career as President of the Andhra University and has served as BJP President twice. He holds two portfolios in the Modi government: Information & Broadcasting and Urban Development.
Venkaiah is a media savvy person , is a jovial man and a huge foodie who shows great pride in the food for breakfast and lunches he hosts for journalists and politicians. He likes to get massage and eating non veg food in a limited fashion. Plays shuttle some times and goes for a long walk. As far as the Telugu states are concerned Kishan Reddy the BJP senior leader is very close to him.
Being an MLA in Assembly he was very close to Jaipal Reddy of Congress and used to go for eating Chicken Tikka with him . Now Venkaiah takes Chapathi and fish with some butter milk. But feels happy to feed the media friends and also suggests them what to eat and how to eat. This habit was also with Senior NTR. Since Venkaiah stays on the other side of the road at my office, Banjarahills Road No 12, I had the privilege of meeting him over a chai and chat several times . Venkaiah is a very good host.
Venkaiah is cut in the mould of Advani and has excellent cross party relations which will stand him in good stead as he will also run the fractious Rajya Sabha as Chairman.
As Chairman, Venkaiah will replace Hamid Ansari with whom the Modi government had a testy relationship. It has proved to be second-time lucky for Venkaiah as earlier LK Advani wanted to choose him as the Leader of the Upper House where he lost out to Arun Jaitley.
Venkaiah has compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to an “avatar of God who India was lucky to have” and while many cringed at the hyperbole, it clearly endeared him to the Prime Minister.
The fact of Naidu being from the South weighed in heavily with the RSS which has detailed and clear plans to have the Sangh penetrate the region which, except for Karnataka, has seen only a fringe parivar presence.
Venkaiah is a Telugu man and is very close to Chandrababu Naidu and comes from the same Kamma community, and is also close to KCR the CM of Telangana.
Naidu is a complete Sangh insider and totally steeped in its culture. The RSS was solidly batting for his candidature and Modi – Shah keeping in view the much anticipated “southern conquest” came on board.
Venkaiah has a solid network both with industrialists and with leaders of other parties with whom he dealt as BJP National president. He is close to Media barons also especially Ramaoji Rao of Eenadu group.
Venkaiahs elevation will leave two portfolios vacant and speculation is already feverish that his deputy R Rathore will be elevated to the cabinet with the I&B ministry.
The trend is that cabinet ministers are delighted to go back as Chief Ministers. Manohar Parrikar is the latest example. But in Naidu’s case, of course, he had his heart set on the job.”
But Venkaiah is a towering personality who will not keep quite. He will attend functions and definitely give his opinion on various subjects. The protocol might come in his way for arranging press meets but he cannot keep quite like past VPs of India. He will definitely be in circulation.
It has been a great journey for Venkaiah from an MLA to the VP of India.