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Here is how Ram Nath Kovind emerged as NDA's presidential choice

20 Juin 2017

Shah had announced the name of Kovind as NDA's consensus candidate for the post of Indian President. He has always been associated with the poor, backwards and Dalits... Uddhav Thackeray said that if someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the goal of gaining a vote bank then the party will not support such a decision. She is likely to support Kovind unless the opposition parties also field a Dalit candidate.

Following the announcement, most Opposition leaders indicated that they will announce the name of their own candidate after a meeting of UPA members on 22 June.

The candidature of 71-year-old Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, was made after Prime Minister Modi met today morning with BJP Chief Amit Shah and other senior party leaders.

Insiders said the PM announced in the meeting that his Cabinet ministers were too important for him to let go of them and hence they could not be spared to become President. Until a day ago there were rumours that LK Advani might be the BJP's presidential nominee. "We will let you know after that", BJD chief Naveen Patnaik told media here today.

"As decided, the Opposition parties will meet on June 22 for a discussion but before that we will have a talk with our Party Chief". BJP has chosen Dalit leader Ram Nath Kovind with an eye on the forthcoming assembly elections in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, TMC re-tweeted his post and asked that party was not even informed about the candidate. "I did", he said sarcastically.

While on the other hand, refraining from commenting on Mayawati' remark, JD (U) leader Neeraj Kumar said they only hope that the election of the first citizen of India (President) should take place without any controversy popping up. However, there were also those in the opposition who kept their options open.

On his part, Ram Nath Kovind, a former lawye, said he would seek support from all parties to emerge as a "consensus candidate" for the coveted post.

A critical chink in the opposition ranks was reflected in Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar's statement. He was the general secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Koli Samaj in Kanpur (the Koli community is mainly engaged in weaving), and the national president of the BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha. But other parties like the TRS, which is in power in Telangana, were unambiguous in their support.

The Sena would make its stand clear on Tuesday, Thackeray said, addressing Shiv Sena cadre on the party's 51st anniversary.

Besides, nearly all other BJP allies have announced their support to Kovind with LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan calling it a "political masterstroke".

Here is how Ram Nath Kovind emerged as NDA's presidential choice