Ram Nath Kovind is NDA's pick for President


Ram Nath Kovind is NDA's pick for President

"It is the BJP's sweet will and we can not help that". He hoped that the leader's Dalit credentials and his work for the upliftment of the weaker sections of society would spurn a similar consensus among other parties too. "They informed us after announcing this decision so there is no scope for consensus now..."

Even as several regional parties either indicated their support or opposition to the NDA's presidential pick, Patnaik initially kept everyone guessing as regards his party's stance on the issue saying he will first discuss the matter with senior party leaders.

She said that Kovind was declared NDA's presidential choice just because he was a Dalit. While, Opposition parties, media flayed government over the provisions of the new prohibition law, the Governor gave his assent. Party chief Amit Shah made an announcement after a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary board earlier in the day.

The oldest and most prominent ally of the BJP, Thackeray told Shah on Sunday that his party would take a decision only after the BJP's Presidential nominee was named. "Our stand will be positive provided the opposition does not field any Dalit for the top post", she said.

The NDA's Presidential nominee was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in 1994-2000 and 2000-2006.

However, he said a final decision on the BJP candidate would be taken at a meeting of party leaders here scheduled for Tuesday.

Kovind, now serving as Bihar Governor, has said that he will meet leaders of major political parties and seek their support to emerge as a "consensus candidate" for the coveted post.

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.

Prime Minister Modi, who on Twitter said Kovind would make "an exceptional President", personally talked to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh to seek their support for the BJP's nominee.

An unassuming man, Kovind worked through the ranks to become a national spokesperson of the BJP. A communication from the chief minister's office said the prime minister requested Naidu to garner the support of the Trinamool Congress for the NDA candidate.

The ruling TRS in Telangana and the ruling TDP and opposition YSR Congress party in Andhra Pradesh also backed Kovind's candidate and pledged their support to him.

Kovind's nomination follows huge protests past year by members of the historically marginalised Dalit community, who make up around 17 per cent of India's population.

From purely political point of view, Kovind's Dalit origin also suits Kumar.