Presidential poll: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik backs NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind

He hails from a Dalit background.

Kavitha said that after discussing with the party's senior leaders, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had taken the decision to support the NDA presidential candidate. Based on BJD's request many political parties including BJP had supported him.

With both the names suggested by it - RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and noted agriculturist M S Swaminathan - rejected, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said the Dalit candidate was chosen merely for vote-bank politics.

Kovind was born on October 1, 1945 at Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh.

"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.

The Election Commission of India had started the process of filing the nomination for the fourteenth President of India on June 14.

Not to lag behind, Jagan, too, issued a statement within a short time, stating that he had received a call from Amit Shah and that the YSRC would extend support to the Dalit candidate selected by the BJP for the post of President. I don't want to comment on this.

"So far as the NDA nominee is concerned, the Congress has nothing to say on the merits or demerits". But they gave no names. Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati said they are "positive", promising support only if the Opposition does not announce a popular Dalit name.

A man of humble origin and a low-profile leader, Ram Nath Kovind emerged the dark horse in the presidential race and, if elected, will be the second Dalit President of India.

Besides Naidu, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley were the other members of the committee.

CPI national secretary D Raja- "Now, they have named a person with RSS background". I have spoken to two or three other Opposition leaders, they are also surprised. "A meeting will be held soon to discuss the same", he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has proposed that a politician from a low caste become the next president, its top strategist said on Monday, in a move to consolidate the party's support among poorer voters. It has also pushed the Opposition into a Catch-22 situation as voting against him would be seen to be opposing a Dalit leader. Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind is the NDA's Presidential nominee and in all likelihood the next President of India.

"The office of President is a key post". The Left parties are likely to demand a joint opposition candidate just as they did in 2003 when NDA nominated APJ Abdul Kalam. As the party had pointed out earlier, their candidate has come as a surprise.

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

It is highly unlikely that any Opposition candidate would be able to gather enough support to defeat Kovind as BJP is only a little shy of reaching the 50 per cent of total electoral college.