NEW DELHI: With more than 65 per cent votes in the kitty, NDA’s Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind on Friday filed three sets of nomination papers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP veterans – L K Advani and M M Joshi, besides a strong battery of chief ministers. With a clear sense of history in the making, as Kovind, a first political functionary from the saffron stable, being posed to occupy the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the NDA projected a perfect NDA family though the Shiv Sena stayed out of the function at the Parliament House.
While the Shiv Sena claimed that the party was not invited, the BJP stated that there is a “communication gap”. The BJP maintained that the Union Minister for Parliamentary affairs Ananth Kumar had spoken to the Shiv Sena leader Anandrao Adsul, who was among the proposer in one of the nomination sets.
While the BJP claimed that the NDA nominee is enjoying support of 28 political parties who have votes in the electoral college, Kovind sought to reach out to the Opposition parties, saying that the “post of President is above politics and he ceased to belong to a political party the day he had become Governor”. He vowed to protect the dignity of the post.
With apparent competitive Dalit politics playing out in the Presidential election after the nomination of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar by the Opposition, the BJP sought to turn the table saying, that the ploy was to divide the Dalits. The Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath told reporters that the Opposition is seeking to divide the Dalits. “The intentions of the Opposition does not seem to be honest, as they hastened to field a Dalit candidate against the NDA nominee,” Adityanath told reporters.
The three sets of nomination papers filed by Kovind were proposed by the Prime Minister, Advani, BJP chief Amit Shah, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandra Babu Naidu and former Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal. The nomination papers were seconded by Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitely, and Adityanath. “Kovind may file one more set of nomination paper if there is a need,” a senior BJP leader said.
Kovind is launching his Presidential campaign from June 25. “He will be launching the campaign from UP. He will be accompanied by senior BJP leaders. He will cover all states during his campaign,” sources said.
Fifteen chief ministers accompanied Kovind in filing the nomination papers.
While the Telangana and Tamil Nadu chief ministers K Chandrashekhar Rao and Palaniswamy attended the ecent, the BJD was represented by a state minister while JD (U) had no representation, with the party leaders saying that it was essentially an NDA function so none were sent.