Ram Nath Kovind currently serving as Governor of Bihar
Dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh Ram Nath Kovind is likely to be the next President of India after Pranab Mukherjee. Sending out a clear message to the Dalit community which seems to be up in arms against the BJP in UP and also in Gujarat where Assembly elections are due later this year, the BJP on Monday picked the party’s Dalit face – Bihar governor Kovind – as the party’s nominee for the Presidential elections slated for next month. With the numbers well stacked in favour of the ruling side, the NDA candidate is all set to win the upcoming contest for the highest office.
The decision, formally taken at the Parliamentary board meeting held on Monday morning at the BJP headquarters, was announced by party chief Amit Shah. He said political parties had been informed of the NDA’s choice. “I hope all will agree to the name,” he said at a press conference. Kovind is likely to file his papers on June 23, BJP president Amit Shah said after a nearly two-hour meeting of the BJP Parliamentary board.
Picking a Dalit leader for the Rashtrapati Bhawan for the second time in history after President K R Narayanan is also an attempt by the ruling BJP to consolidate “the poor and backward votes” across the country that the party is striving for. It would fall in line with every Dalit outreach programme that BJP chief Amit Shah has been participating in during his visits to the different states.
PM Modi has talked to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and former PM Manmohan Singh to seek their support for the BJP’s nominee. As a gesture of respect, BJP also called party veterans L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to inform them of its nominee before going public.