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BJP's Vice President Pick May Be From South India, Say Sources

NEW DELHI:  The ruling BJP is expected to meet this evening and name its candidate for vice president. Top sources in the party have indicated that it is likely to be a person from South India.

But sources were non-committal on the possibility of the party picking union minister Venkaiah Naidu or C Vidyasagar Rao, two names that have been in circulation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah met last week for discussions on the vice presidential candidate and are likely to share their views at the meeting of the party's top body, the parliamentary board later today.

PM Modi, say sources, has to take a call whether he will spare a cabinet minister. This was seen as the reason why a cabinet minister's name was ruled out in the presidential polls.

Sources say the BJP and its advisers have a three-factor requirement of their candidate: a background as a rigorous subscriber to the core values of the BJP and its ideological mentor the RSS; the ability to run smoothly the Rajya Sabha, of which the Vice President serves as the Chairman and where the government is currently in a minority; and to represent a key support base of the BJP, just like Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit leader who is the party's choice for President.

C Vidyasagar Rao, the Governor of Maharashtra, is said to be a favoured candidate given the party's attempt to strengthen its moorings in southern states.

Opposition parties last week named as their vice presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi, a former governor who was also briefly considered by them for the post of president.

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