Bihar Governor RN Kovind is BJP's presidential nominee

Posted June 20, 2017

After a nearly-two hour long meeting of the BJP parliamentary board, BJP chief Amit Shah announced Kovind's name, springing a major surprise. "It is too early to say", Nitish Kumar told the media.

"They (BJP) took a decision unilaterally, but it is up to them. The final call will be taken in a meeting of all Opposition parties on June 22", Azad told newspersons here.

"The Congress party doesn't want to comment on the name of the candidate announced by the NDA government".

"So far as the National Democratic Alliance nominee is concerned, the Congress has nothing to say on the merits or demerits". However, the CM said that the party would announce its decision only after the Opposition meeting on June 22.

CPI (M) also spoke on the same lines, with party general secretary Sitaram Yechury reiterating the fact that the Opposition didn't keep its word.

"Ram Nath Kovind has always fought for the betterment of the Dalits and other backward castes", BJP chief Amit Shah said at a press conference to announce the party's candidate.

As an advocate, Mr Kovind took the lead in providing free legal aid to the weaker sections, specially SC/STs and women, and poor and needy girls under the aegis of the Free Legal Aid Society in Delhi. Kumar said that in his capacity as the Chief Minister, it was a matter of happiness that Bihar Governor has been declared as the candidate for the next president of India.

Nominating a Dalit for the President's post makes it hard for Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to further their own interests in this respect. The Opposition has been left behind in the race because it is still working on a name to be put up as a common candidate.

The Sena's stance on Kovind's candidature in the upcoming election will be considered crucial as the party is a BJP partner both at the center and in Maharashtra.

The NCP also said the future course of action by the opposition parties will be decided in the June 22 meet.

However, the decision did not go down well with some of the political parties with the Congress Party alleging that the announcement was made without taking the grand old party into confidence while BJP's ally Shev Sena termed it a political move to lure vote bank.

On the first occasion, Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had thrown his lot behind Patil on grounds that she was the first Maharashtrian and a woman to occupy the top constitutional post.

"Had the BJP and NDA brought any non-political Dalit for the post, it would have been better", she said.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee didn't seem happy with the Kovind's candidature.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, another key component of the opposition, said the Governor's credentials are also impressive.