BJP plays Dalit card for Presidential polls

Odisha's ruling BJD keeps Prez polls card close to chest

The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday ended the suspense over the likely successor to President Pranab Mukherjee by naming Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA's presidential candidate, in a move that would change party equations.

Congress president, Sonia Gandhi.

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu pointed out that the choice of Governor Kovind should meet all the expectations of the opposition. "We will discuss the issue later and decide".

"On the BJP fielding a Dalit candidate, Azad said, ". "A meeting will be held soon to discuss the same", he said.

Asked whether BJD supported the NDA candidate out of any pressure, party spokesman dismissed it and said "We continue to maintain equal distance from both BJP and Congress".

Joining the critics of NDA's Presidential nominee, Shiv Sena said it would not extend its support if the Centre is eyeing a vote bank by nominating a Dalit face for the upcoming President polls.

Kovind said he was a "small citizen" entrusted with a big responsibility.

Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah announced the name of Kovind, 71, after a almost two-hour meeting of the BJP parliamentary board attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others, ending all suspense about the NDA's candidature for the top constitutional post.

On his part, the soft-spoken Kovind said he would appeal to all political parties and members of the electoral college to back him.

If Meira Kumar is nominated, it would be hard for the Sena not to back Kovind.

"The office of President is a key post".

New Delhi, Jun 20 Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind has resigned from the gubernatorial post.

The challenge to Kovind's nomination should now come mainly from the Congress party and Trinamool Congress led by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee as also the sulking NDA ally Shiv Sena.

"Although Kovind has been associated with the RSS and the BJP from the beginning but since he is a Dalit, our partys stand towards him can not be negative".

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