Venkaiah Naidu, (62) BJP
Rajya Sabha Member
Ministry: Urban Development
Despite being seen as close to veteran leader L K Advani, the former BJP president firmly aligned himself with the pro-Modi camp. He reportedly advised Advani to withdraw his opposition to Modi, arguing that the Gujarat CM was the BJP’s best bet. He was also among the BJP leaders who vociferously opposed the move to sack Modi after the 2002 Gujarat riots.
His tenure as party chief ended on a sour note as NDA lost power in 2004 but he’s a known as a strong organization man, having headed the BJP youth wing in Andhra Pradesh in 1973-74. He held the rural development portfolio in the Vajpayee government, and is a member of the BJP parliamentary board. Hailing from Nellore in And from Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, he has been a member of the legislative assembly but has not contested a Lok Sabha election.
He has been a strong force for the BJP in Andhra and was instrumental in forging the alliance with the Telugu Desam Party.
The multilingual Naidu he is fluent in English, Hindi and Telugu–is a familiar face as he was party spokesperson for a while. The alliance romped home to a comfortable victory in the recent Assembly elections.