Ram Nath Kovind- BJP Plays Dalit Card

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The opposition block, led by the Congress, has 35% votes and would be looking at making a dent in the NDA ranks hoping for cross voting by parties such as the Shiv Sena. "The opposition will meet on June 22 - only then we can announce our decision", she said.

The NDA is short of majority by barely 20,000 votes but with several non-NDA parties pledging their support to its candidate, the ruling block now enjoys a comfortable majority.

"We don't want to talk about his (Kovind's) personality but will talk on merit".

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

Sources in the Left parties said the Opposition may field a joint candidate and the issue will be discussed at the June 22 meeting. Kovind met home minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Tuesday.

With BJP's Presidential pick Ramnath Kovind the opposition is now toying with many dalit names including former speaker Meira Kumar, BR Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar and Magsaysay award victor Bezwada Wilson.

A lawyer-turned-politician, NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, 71, has been a champion of rights for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs and women since his student days.

CPI national secretary D Raja- "Now, they have named a person with RSS background".

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

While PTI quoted NDA-ally Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray as saying fielding a Dalit was "mere vote bank politics" and that his party would take a final decision on Tuesday, Odisha Chief Minister and BJD leader Naveen Patnaik announced his support for Mr. Kovind.

"The President's is a key post". He had earlier called on Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu of TDP to seek his support for the NDA's presidential nominee.

Following the announcement, most Opposition leaders indicated that they will announce the name of their own candidate after a meeting of UPA members on 22 June.

"They did not come back to the opposition and announced the candidate", he said. Mr Kovind was member of Indian Delegation to the U.N. General Assembly in 2003. She added that it would have been better had the NDA taken the Opposition parties in "good faith" before announcing his name.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari and M. Venkaiah Naidu and other senior party leaders deliberated on the names for the top constitutional post. But given the ruling BJP-led NDA's numerical superiority Kovind's appointment as the next President of India is nearly a surety.

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