[Governor of Bihar Ram Nath Kovind called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on June 19, 2017 after he was proposed as the NDA candidate for India's next president.]
New Delhi: The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday proposed the name of Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA nominee for the new President.
The candidature of 71-year-old Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, was made after Prime Minister Modi met today morning with BJP Chief Amit Shah and other senior party leaders.
The BJP's parliamentary board backed the nomination of Ram Nath Kovind, governor of Bihar, Amit Shah told a news conference in New Delhi.
Soon after his name was proposed for the new president Ram Nath Kovind, a long-time BJP worker, rushed to New Delhi and drove to Prime Minister's residence to meet Narendra Modi.
He also called on BJP president Amit Shah.
While talking to reporters in New Delhi, Kovind said PM Modi called him this morning to inform that he was the BJP's presidential candidate.
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.
On his part, Ram Nath Kovind, a former lawye, said he would seek support from all parties to emerge as a 'consensus candidate' for the coveted post. He is likely to file his nomination on June 23.
Non-NDA parties like BJD, TRS and YSRCP have already announced their support to the Dalit leader.
If elected, Kovind would be only the second Dalit to occupy the Rashtrapati Bhavan after K R Narayanan.
Meanwhile, the opposition is likely to field a candidate against Ram Nath Kovind. However a decision in this regard will be taken only on June 22 when the 18-party opposition front led by the Congress will hold a meeting to discuss the latest development.
"I am not for a moment saying that the Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is unfit to be the President. I have spoken to two or three other Opposition leaders, they are also surprised. There are other big Dalit leaders in the country", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, another key component of the opposition, said the Governor's credentials are also impressive.
"Kovind has discharged his duties in an unbiased manner as the Bihar Governor. He has worked as per the Constitution and upheld the dignity of the Governor's post," the Chief Minister said after congratulating Mr Kovind in person.
However, he said, his party will decide on whether to back the Governor's promotion only after it consults with others on Thursday.