All eyes on Shiv Sena meeting over Ram Nath Kovind

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday hunkered down to get the formalities of getting its choice of candidate for the presidential polls, Ram Nath Kovind, elected.

The BJP yesterday announced the name of 71-year-old Kovind, a low-profile Dalit leader and a two-term BJP Rajya Sabha member, as its nominee for the president's post. "I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised". Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reached out to several chief ministers and leaders of regional parties to shore up support for the NDA candidate.

According to Kovind, all senior leaders, including BR Ambedkar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and C Rajagopalachari had rejected the demand, saying that no religious follower other than a Hindu can be granted any reservation as so-called Scheduled Castes have been suffering from untouchability and social discrimination for centuries, reported the newspaper.

Patnaik's statement came after journalists drew his attention to an editorial article by his party Lok Sabha MP Tathagat Satpathy in which the lawmaker said BJD's support will have adverse impact on the morale of the party workers who have been fighting against the saffron party on Mahanadi water and other issues.

Yechury said, "Kovind ji was the chief of RSS's Dalit branch. I felt it was my duty to personally meet with him and thank him for a wonderful role he has played in shaping the state", the Chief Minister said adding hurriedly that he would reserve his opinion about supporting his candidacy for a later time. "We have the numbers, but it will be important to see who the opposition chooses as candidate", he said. So, there is no question of mutual consent. "In my capacity as the Bihar Chief Minister, it is a matter of happiness that our Governor has been declared as the candidate for the next President of India", Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said in Patna after meeting Governor Kovind at the Raj Bhawan. When we asked on whom they want to build consensus, they had no answer then.

President Pranab Mukherjee has appointed West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to also discharge the function of Governor of Bihar until further notice.

  • Arturo Norris