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New Delhi: Is this the end game for Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu in politics with his term as Rajya Sabha Chairman coming to an end in August? A seasoned politician and a veteran BJP leader, Naidu apparently is unhappy with the way he was ‘dumped’ by the saffron party and denied an opportunity to get into Rashtrapathi Bhavan.

Way back in 2017, when the BJP top brass sprang a surprise on Naidu by nominating him for the Vice-President’s post notwithstanding the fact that he was a senior and active Cabinet Minister then, there were murmurs in political circles that the party had given him an assurance of sorts that the move would lead to its logical end — his elevation to the country’s top executive post.

The turn of events has now become fodder for political analysts who are debating as to what Naidu’s next move would be – whether he would slip into political oblivion like his predecessor Bhairon Singh Shekhawat or become a part of the saffron party’s Margdarshak Mandal, the toothless think-tank, like other senior leaders including LK Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi.

Political analysts believe that Naidu was not given due recognition for the loyalty and services rendered to the party, with some even pointing out that the BJP top brass had a meticulous long-term plan in place to ease him out of active politics for reasons only known to the party.

These observations gained credence when the party decided to keep the name of the Presidential candidate under wraps before finally announcing the candidature of Droupadi Murmu even as many believed that Naidu was a natural choice.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi deputed union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda to convey the message to Naidu. Rubbing salt to injury, Modi did not even have the grace to at least personally convey the message to Naidu, the analysts point out.

Having said that, there were instances that hinted at differences between the Rajya Sabha Chairman and the union government. This was clear when 12 Rajya Sabha MPs were suspended from the Upper House during the Budget session at the instance of the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi. Venkaiah Naidu was disturbed by the developments and even had heated arguments with the leader of Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal and Prahlad Joshi.

Naidu was also apparently miffed with the Nupur Sharma controversy that led to the cancellation of the official lunch with the deputy Emir of Qatar during his visit to the Gulf nation recently.

Considering the way he was treated despite his loyalty, several senior BJP leaders believe that Naidu may decide to stay away from politics once he completes his term.



Author: Howard Caldwell