Kovind would become the second Dalit President of India, after KR Narayanan who served as the President from 1997 to 2002.
Indirectly expressing her party’s reservation about the candidature of Kovind, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said he was nominated only because he had been a leader of the BJP’s Dalit Morcha in the past.
Sena smells vote-bank politics: NDA constituents barring the Shiv Sena today welcomed the nomination of Ram Nath Kovind for the president’s post.
He further said that the meetings which were called by the BJP to discuss the Presidential nominee’s name with the opposition parties were mere a formality and PR exercise.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari said, “Under his leadership, India will prosper and the oppressed will get justice”. A commerce graduate and LL.B, from Kanpur University in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Kovind is known for organisational skills in the party.
“Modi and Shah have shrewdly ensured that they cause a strategic split in the opposition camp while getting an ideological fellow traveller into Rashtrapati Bhavan”, wrote journalist Swati Chaturvedi on the NDTV news website, referring to the president’s official residence.
The NCP on its part said it would take part in the Opposition meet on June 22. The opposition has called for a meeting on June 22 which will be presided by Congress President Sonia Gandhi to take a final call on the opposition nominee. “If he wants to say anything on the matter of inefficiency or corruption, he is most welcome”, he said.
The 17-party Opposition now appears confused, with parties such as the JD (U) and the BSP indicating that they are amenable to the BJP’s choice. I have spoken to 2 or 3 other Opposition leaders, they are also surprised. “I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised”.
Mr Kumar is a key component of the united opposition front that is being tested by the BJP’s naming of Mr Kovind.
The Left parties, which object to Kovind’s Sangh Parivar moorings, said the Opposition will field a candidate after Thursday’s meeting. “I hope that every citizen will support me”, he said. On supporting Kovind, the Bihar chief minister was clearly evasive saying “it is too early to comment”.
“If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the goal of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said”.
“Shah informed him about the BJP choice and also sought the Shiv Sena’s support for Kovind’s candidature”, Raut said.