Presidential poll: NDA picks Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its candidate

The BJP Parliamentary Board, the party's highest decision making body, met earlier today to take a decision on its presidential nominee.

Published: 19th June 2017 02:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th June 2017 05:16 PM   |  A+A-

His Excellency the Governor of Bihar Ram Nath Kovind. (Courtesy: Bihar government website)

By Online Desk

BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday named Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA Presidential candidate.

The BJP Parliamentary Board, the party's highest decision-making body, met earlier today to take a decision on its presidential nominee.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also attended the meeting.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, while reacting to BJP naming Kovind as NDA's Presidential candidate, said that the party would convene a meeting to formulate its stand on the nomination.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP President Chandrababu Naidu welcomes the choice of BJP's presidential candidate.

IN PICTURES: Ram Nath Kovind - Things to know about the NDA's presidential pick

Born on October 1, 1945 in Derapur village of Kanpur Dehat,  Kovind is a commerce graduate and has an LLB degree. The two-time Rajya Sabha member and BJP's former national spokesperson, Kovind hails from Ghatampur tehsil of Kanpur Dehat. He headed the BJP's Scheduled Caste Morcha between  1999 and 2002.

Hailing from the Koli community, which is classified as a Scheduled Caste in Uttar Pradesh, Kovind was an advocate by profession before entering politics full-time.

He was registered as an advocate in 1971 and practised In the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979. He was a standing counsel in the Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. H was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the first time in 1994 and completed his first tenure in 2000. He repeated his term in the upper house between 2000 and 2006. He was appointed Bihar governor on August 8, 2015.

Kovind’s candidature implies that the BJP has set aside a much-speculated move to nominate a hard right candidate for the country’s top post, a move predicted by left-wing critics as preparatory tactics towards moving the country closer to a Hindutva identity.

Kovind’s choice is in keeping with ruling parties’ propensity to name candidates from the minorities, or underprivileged sections to signal the inclusiveness of India’s polity. The last time the NDA was in power, it nominated A P J Abdul Kalam for president. Bhagwat’s candidature would have been a departure from that precedent.

The preference for Kovind also sits squarely with the BJP’s recent strategy of knitting Dalit communities into its emerging all-India coalition, as seen most recently in Uttar Pradesh, where it chose a Dalit, K P Maurya, as one of the two deputy chief ministers to balance the Thakur, Yogi Adityanath’s choice as chief minister.

Kovind’s candidature also removes any scope for the Congress and the secular parties to nitpick the choice.

(With Inputs from ENS and PTI)

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