NDA's vice-presidential nominee M Venkaiah Naidu said he aimed to see PM Narendra Modi return to power in 2019 and then join social service but "destiny decided otherwise". Naidu, who has quit the BJP, suggested he was keen to strengthen Modi's "great leadership" and rejected reports that he wished to continue as minister.
"The country has got a great leadership and we should strengthen the country through that leadership and move forward. That was my wish. There was no intention as some people are saying that I wanted to continue as minister...," he told reporters.
"I had already made up my mind. I told my colleagues also that I want to see Modi come back again in 2019 and then I will call it off and join social service... but destiny decided otherwise. I have agreed with whatever decision was taken finally after discussion," Naidu added.
Having been "brought up" by the party after he lost his mother at a very young age, it was "very painful" to leave the organisation, he said, adding that he treated it like his mother.
That is why he turned emotional on Monday during the BJP parliamentary board meeting which finalised his candidature, Naidu told reporters. He said he enjoyed working among the people and in the party.
"The office of vice president has a different profile. It has different norms of functions... I hope I will be able to do justice," Naidu said, terming his nomination an "honour" for which he thanked the party leadership.
He underlined the difference between the demands of the job of the vice president, which has "defined constitutional responsibilities", and his public profile for the last four decades during which "intensive interaction with people" had been a way of life and also a passion.
Naidu said he had now withdrawn himself from the party. "I am now above party. I do not belong to a party."
From a humble agricultural background he had risen to this level because of the support of the people and the BJP, he said. He said he would not do any campaigning as the electoral college for the vice presidential poll comprised members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha and all of them were in the capital due to the ongoing Monsoon Session of parliament.