Bjp names dalit leader as presidential candidate


A story doing the rounds after his name was announced as presidential nominee of the ruling NDA was that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had wondered who Kovind was when he was appointed Governor of the state in 2015. "In this backdrop and considering the fact that Shri Kovind is an eminent lawyer belonging to the Scheduled Caste community, BJD, after discussing with senior leaders of the party has made a decision to support his candidature", said CM Naveen.

Naidu said the prime minister had also spoken to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, whose Telugu Desam Party is an ally of the BJP in the NDA, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao and some other leaders.

Born in October 1945 in rural Kanpur, Kovind comes from a modest background and has served as the BJP Dalit Morcha president during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government at the Centre between 1998 and 2002.

Modi also said that Kovind's knowledge and understanding of the Constitution would benefit the nation.

During the BJP Parliamentary Party meeting, Shah said the names of several senior BJP leaders, including Union ministers, governors and eminent persons, were doing the rounds as probables.

Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said his party will not comment on this decision yet.

Asked if the opposition will field a candidate against him, Kovind said: "I think I will have the support and blessings of every citizen of India". I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised. But he was non-committal on whether his Janata Dal-United will support Kovind.

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"So, we said the opposition will meet and take a decision on June 22".

But Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, 71, has attributes that not many in the NDA family can boast of.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pick for President has been quintessentially political.

The charade of consultation with the Opposition, as an astute Opposition leader put it, was meant to elicit unilateral cooperation rather than arrive at a consensus candidate.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that there are other Dalit leaders in the country who are fir for this role.

Further giving her opinion over Presidential Elections, Mayawati stated that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should have selected a name from a non-political background which would have been better. "We hope that India will find an extremely wonderful president in Ramnath Kovind", Kavitha told ANI. Though BJP had managed to break BSP's stranglehold over the Dalit vote in UP assembly elections, the increasing friction between upper and lower castes in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and UP has led to the rise of a young and oppositional Dalit leadership.