NDA Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, speaking to reporters after filing the nomination papers, Mr Kovind said, office of president is the highest constitutional post and in the past it has been adorned by eminent personalities like Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dr Radhkrishnan, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. Further the septuagenarian added, it was country first, not politics. “Ever since I became governor, I don’t belong to any political party. The post of President is above party politics. I am thankful to everybody for their support. I will strive to keep President’s post above party politics. Development is priority. I appeal to all for cooperation.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, BJP veterans Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states and NDA allies ruled states and the heads of some other parties supporting Mr Kovind’s candidature were also present on the occasion.
All chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and its allies except Manohar Parrikar of Goa and Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir were present. Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami were among those present.
Over-viewing presidential colleges besides NDA constituents, which comprise over 48.6 per cent of votes in the electoral college that will elect the next president, regional parties such as the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and JD(U) have announced their support to the Dalit leader, making his win an almost foregone conclusion. Kovind is guaranteed to get more than 61 per cent of votes, and the finally tally depends on how some still- undecided regional parties vote, BJP source said.
UPA ,opposition candidate for the post Ms Meira Kumar is excepted to file her nomination on 27th of this month. 28th June is the last date for filing the nomination. The election for the President post is scheduled for 17th of next month and counting of votes will take place on 20th of July.
The term of President Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24. Once elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit to occupy the highest constitutional office.
The first was K R Narayanan, who was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1997-2002. A low-profile Dalit leader who held various organisational positions in the BJP, Kovind, 71, was made the Bihar Governor in 2015 after the NDA came to power in May 2014.
The name of the two-term Rajya Sabha member did not figure among the probables but his nomination by the BJP is now being seen as a “political masterstroke”.
He enjoys a clean reputation and has steered clear of any controversy in his over 26-year-old political career. His Dalit background makes him a sound political choice for the saffron party working overtime to woo Dalits.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad today again appealed to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar not to make a “historic blunder” by extending support to the NDA nominee for the presidential poll.
Describing the combined opposition nominee Meira Kumar as “Bihar ki Beti” (daughter of Bihar), Prasad appealed to Kumar to “mend the historic blunder” of supporting NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind.
“We are still treading on the path you had suggested to make the country ‘Sangh-mukt’…don’t know what made Kumar move away and extend support to a RSS man,” Prasad told reporters on his arrival at the Jayprakash Narayan Airport at Patna from New Delhi.