Bjp names dalit leader as presidential candidate

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But, if sources are to be believed, several other factors like Kovind's not-so-strong RSS links and the Gujarat polls also played a pivotal role in his selection. The rumour mills had put BJP veterans L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu as amongst the probables for president. "We will openly support".

So what does Mr Kovind has going for him? We proposed the name of Mohan Bhagwat.

Kovind's name was announced at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi by party president Amit Shah following a 90-minute long meeting of the party's Parliamentary Board, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the board members.

For the past two presidential elections, the Sena has broken away with the NDA and backed Congress nominees Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee. The Sena chief agreed, contradicting the BJP, which supported NDA candidate P.A. Sangma.

Hours after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) picked up Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind as its candidate for the post of president, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said on Monday that her party can not take a negative stand against a Dalit nominee.

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The Centre apprised the senior leaders, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh about the announcement over phone after taking the decision. "We will openly support". Candidate should be someone who will be beneficial for the country.

JDU leader Sharad Yadav said: "We will discuss about the Presidential candidate in the meeting of Opposition parties. There are other big Dalit leaders in the country", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee said.

Azad also accused the BJP of "unilateralism" but did not say whether or not the opposition will field a candidate for the July 17 contest.

Kumar, the JD (U) national president, however, refused to commit any support to the NDAs presidential candidate, saying it would not be appropriate to comment on the issue. "I can say that I am surprised by the decision", Banerjee said at Dubai en route the Netherlands to address a United Nations' event. The Chief Minister yesterday paid a courtesy visit to Kovind at the Raj Bhawan in Patna. The BJP is also hopeful of support from the BJD and the AIADMK, which are in power in Odisha and Tamil Nadu respectively.

However, he assured that a meeting will be held on the matter as well.

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Meanwhile, the BJP's masterstroke has stumped everyone, including the media, as Kovind was nowhere on the radar.

Nominating a Dalit for the President's post makes it hard for Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to further their own interests in this respect.

If elected, Mr Kovind will become the second governor from Bihar to reach the post, after Dr Zakir Hussain.

Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar today congratulated Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind on being nominated as the NDA's candidate for the post of president. "His was an ideal relationship with the state government", Nitish Kumar said. This will breach Opposition unity to a great extent though Congress, Left parties, TMC and RJD, among a few others, will not let him the unanimous choice.

The opposition parties had formed a sub-committee to select a candidate but decided not to come up with a name till there was clarity about the choice of the ruling alliance.

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