Presidential Election 2017: Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind has served two terms in the Rajya Sabha.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has picked Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its choice for President of India, BJP chief Amit Shah said today. Mr Shah made the announcement after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with him and other top BJP leaders. PM Modi has talked to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh to seek their support for the BJP's nominee. The BJP also called party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to inform them of its nominee before going public.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) volunteers and leaders celebrate in Lucknow after Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind was announced the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) Presidential candidate today. BJP National President Amit Shah made the announcement. (PTI)
NDA's Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi today. (PTI)
NDA's presidential candidate and Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind today said he will meet leaders of all top political parties and seek their support
to emerge as a "consensus candidate" for President of India, news agency PTI reported. "All those who are members of the electoral college, I will meet leaders of major political parties and seek their support... I hope that every citizen will support me," Mr Kovind said.
The opposition may field a joint candidate against the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, people familiar with the matter told news agency PTI. According to the people, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Former Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader and Dr BR Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Yashwant, and retired diplomat Gopal Krishna Gandhi are some of the names the opposition is considering, PTI reported.
Bihar Governor and the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President Amit Shah in New Delhi today.
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan extended support to the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. "This is an historic decision. The opposition should support the NDA candidate, rising above politics. If they don't support, it would mean they are anti-Dalits," Mr Paswan told reporters in New Delhi.
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced his party's support to NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, news agency PTI reported.
A Dalit presidential candidate has been chosen merely for vote bank politics, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said, news agency PTI reported.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Yadav said he will give his opinion on the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) move to make Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind its Presidential candidate after the opposition members' meeting on June 22, news agency ANI reported.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today congratulated Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind after he was nominated the NDA's candidate for President of India.
BJP supporters and leaders greet the NDA's Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi today.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury today said the BJP "unilaterally" selected Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate. "It was their proposal that they will get back to the opposition after zeroing on a candidate. They did not come back to the opposition and announced the candidate," Mr Yechury told reporters.
Union Minister and BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu today defended the party's move not to disclose its presidential candidate's name during meetings held by the three-member panel with the opposition. "Of course, we did not suggest any name. The reason was that if you suggest any name, it means you are not leaving any option for others," Mr Naidu said.
Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, whom the BJP named this afternoon as its presidential candidate, told NDTV that the selection was not a matter of pride, but duty. On whether he ever dreamed of being picked for the nation's top job, Mr Kovind said: "I wasn't thinking in those terms. I was busy, working here, quite satisfactorily."Ram Nath Kovind meets BJP chief Amit Shah. (File)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said she has never heard of the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. "I have not heard his name ever before. I do not know him. I could recognise him only after he was mentioned as the Bihar governor. I can say that I am surprised by the decision," Mamata Banerjee said in Dubai, en route to the Netherlands.
"It's a duty, let's take it as such," the NDA's presidential candidate and Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind told NDTV.
The opposition YSR Congress or YSRC in Andhra Pradesh today announced its support to the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, news agency PTI reported. YSRC chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy gave this assurance to BJP chief Amit Shah, when the latter in a telephone conversation sought the YSRC's support for the ruling coalition's presidential candidate.
BJP supporters celebrate at the party's office in Lucknow after Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind was named the National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is on her way to the Netherlands, expressed reservation against the BJP's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. The office of President is a key post and "someone of stature of Pranab Da, or even Sushma Swaraj or Advani-ji may have been made the candidate," her party Trinamool Congress or TMC quoted her as saying in a series of tweets.
The Nationalist Congress Party will be a part of the United Progressive Alliance members' meeting to be held in Delhi on June 22 to decide their presidential candidate. "All parties part of the UPA will meet on June 22 at 4 pm to decide on who would be our presidential candidate. The NCP too will be a part of it," party spokesperson Nawab Malik said today.
Former President Pratibha Patil told NDTV she was expecting a consensus presidential candidate. "I don't know him (Ram Nath Kovind) personally but it seems he's a well-educated person, has legal experience, has been a Rajya Sabha member, and has many political accolades," the former President said.
Bahujan Samaj Party's stand will be positive provided the opposition does not field a Dalit presidential candidate, BSP chief Mayawati said.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said Governor Ram Nath Kovind is a "great leader of our party". "I am confident that under his leadership he will give justice to the backward classes, and priority to progress and development of our country," Mr Gadkari said.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said the BJP should have taken the opposition into confidence before announcing Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind for President of India. "Before him, KR Narayanan, a Dalit, has been the President of India. But it would have been more appropriate had the BJP -- and NDA -- chosen an apolitical Dalit candidate for the post," Ms Mayawati said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed happiness over Governor Ram Nath Kovind's candidature for President of India, but stopped short of committing support to the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) nominee.
Over the weekend, BJP chief Amit Shah met with Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, who regularly and aggressively asserts his differences with the BJP despite serving as its ally in both Maharashtra and the national ruling coalition. "We were not given the name earlier, we have been given it only now," complained Sena leader Sanjay Raut.
Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed Congress chief Sonia Gandhi personally about the BJP's candidate for President of India, her party said that it was a token gesture. "They only revealed the name of their choice after making the decision. So, it was simply their decision, then what's the point of holding talks?" asked Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The selection of a Dalit leader for President is a move by the BJP to consolidate its growing support among backward castes and poorer voters. The opposition has said that despite the BJP talking of wanting a "consensus candidate", it sought no input on Governor Kovind's candidature.
Ram Nath Kovind worked as a top aide to former Prime Minister Morarji Desai and has represented India at the United Nations in New York.
Ram Nath Kovind is a former leader of the BJP's unit that represents Dalit and served two terms as a member of the Rajya Sabha. He is a trained lawyer who has appeared at the High Court and Supreme Court.
Ram Nath Kovind is 71 years old, a Dalit and has served as Bihar Governor for three years. He was named Governor of Bihar by the centre three years ago.