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Dark horse Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is BJP Presidential candidate

Dark horse Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is BJP Presidential candidate

Kovind, a Dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh.

The BJP's parliamentary board backed the nomination of Ram Nath Kovind, governor of Bihar, Amit Shah told a news conference in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that Kovind would "make an exceptional president" and "continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised". He devoted his life to public service & worked for poor & marginalized. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar expressed happiness that the governor of his state has been chosen. The BJP's efforts for a consensus were nothing but a "PR exercise", said party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. "I hope that every citizen will support me", he said. BJP president Amit Shah made the announcement following over two-hour long meeting of the party's parliamentary board, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior party leaders. Now when Dalits in state are angry with the BJP-ruled state government, they are trying to pacify the community by nominating a Dalit leader for presidential elections.

Non-NDA parties like BJD, TRS and YSRCP have already announced their support to the Dalit leader. If elected, he will be the second Indian President after K.R. Narayanan to hail from the Dalit community.

"Since Mayawati has to take care of her Dalit vote bank, she can not openly oppose a Dalit candidate".

He said the opposition did not expect this "unilateral" decision by the BJP to name Kovind.

"We have decided that Ram Nath Kovind will be the NDA Presidential candidate", Shah told the media, adding he was likely to file his nomination on Friday.




Harping on the party's pet names - RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and agro-scientist M. S. Swaminathan - Thackeray said Bhagwat was proposed as India is a Hindu nation, but the country has lost a good opportunity by ignoring him.

"Earlier in the day, the NDA announced Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind as its candidate for the upcoming Presidential polls".

Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was part of the three-member panel formed to hold discussions and build a consensus on a presidential candidate, said the suggestions of opposition parties played a role in the NDA picking Kovind. Congress finds itself in a catch-22 situation: it would be accused of being anti-Dalit if it opposes Kovind while supporting him would effectively mean giving a walkover to BJP.

An opposition leader said they might field former Congress minister and speaker Meira Kumar, also a Dalit, as their candidate.

"They did not come back to the opposition and announced the candidate", he said.

She said that someone of the stature of Pranab Mukherjee or Sushma Swaraj or Lal Krishna Advani would have been an ideal presidential candidate.


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