Flanked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and veteran BJP leader L K Advani, former minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday filed his nomination papers for the vice presidential election. BJP president Amit Shah, senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi as well as leaders from BJP allies and those from other regional parties, including the AIADMK and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, accompanied Naidu as he filed his papers in the parliament complex. The Shiv Sena was also present.
The senior BJP leader resigned as Urban Development and Information and Broadcasting minister hours before he filed his nomination papers. Additional charge of Ministry of Urban Development was given to Narendra Tomar and I&B to Smriti Irani, tweeted PMO.
After filing his nomination papers, Naidu addressed media said that he is honoured to be nominated as vice presidential candidate. He also thanked Modi and said that he is grateful to Amit Shah and other NDA leaders which have backed my candidature.
Naidu called quitting the government as a "painful" task. "Now I do not belong to any party," said the veteran politician after filing his nomination for the August 5 poll.
Naidu said,''I come from a humble agricultural background, it is from this background that I reached here.'' He spoke about his passion and said that his passion is to work with the people and uphold dignity of the vice president office.
''India's strength and beauty lies in Parliamentary democratic system. It will be my endeavor to strengthen that further,'' added Naidu.
After Naidu, Gopalkrishna Gandhi also filed his nomination papers for vice presidential elections in the presence of senior Congress and other opposition leaders, including from the JD(U). Gandhi has been picked by 18 opposition parties to be their nominee for the post of vice president.
After filing his nomination, Gandhi said,''I am an ordinary citizen, and I am not associated with any party. My views are my own.''
''We are living in times of division. This spells danger for our future, not only for politics but for the nation. Not here to oppose any person or party, here with all humility to place before electors, the aspirations of citizens, Gandhi added.
He further said,''I believe death penalty belongs to the medieval ages,Its wrong. My views inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr.Ambedkar.''
Earlier in the day, NDA's vice presidential nominee M. Venkaiah Naidu met veteran BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi at their residences before filing his nomination.
Ahead of filing his nomination for Vice presidential polls, Gandhi said,''The Opposition in India is a very large entity & 18 parties have asked me to be their vice -president candidate.'' Gandhi also said he had accepted the invitation to be the Opposition's Vice Presidential candidate with a sense of gratitude and responsibility.
Meanwhile, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik said that BJD extended support to Gandhi.
The elections to the post of VP will be held on August 5. The UPA had last week announced the candidature of Gopalkrishna Gandhi. He is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and was also the former governor of West Bengal.
On Monday the BJP following its parliamentary board meeting selected Naidu as the VP candidate. Naidu who holds the Information and Broadcasting portfolio will have to first resign before he files his nominations. A Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards following the monsoon session of Parliament.