“There are other big Dalit leaders in the country”.
There were speculations that the BJP could choose from probables like external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu as its presidential nominee.
Sources in the Left parties said the Opposition may field a joint candidate and the issue will be discussed at the June 22 meeting.
Though it later joined the BJP-led ministry in Maharashtra, Sena has continued to needle the lead partner over all vital issues including demonetisation and tension on the borders.
The Congress spurned the BJP’s appeal for consensus on its choice for President. The elections, however, went in favour of the JD (U) and RJD who cobbled an alliance to form the government in Bihar. “The final call will be taken in a meeting of all opposition parties on June 22”, he said.
Besides, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to several leaders including Naveen Patnaik over this, IANS reported.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee claimed that the Bihar Governor was nominated only because he had been a leader of the BJP’s Dalit Morcha in the past. “The post of the President of India is above party politics”. Like during the regime of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, we supported A.P.J.
He added that if the next President proves to be beneficial for all the people of the country and not just Dalits, “then make anybody”.
During his tenure as the Governor of Bihar, Kovind has come out as a supporter of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s policy of prohibition.
Nitish Kumar expressed his happiness that the Bihar Governor would be the NDA’s candidate for the President elections. “As far as the President of India is concerned, we made a Dalit president 15 years ago; this is not the first time”, Azad told ANI.
Born on October 1, 1945 in Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh, Kovind is a lawyer who practised at both the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court for 16 years.