BJP decided 'unilaterally': Left, Opposition react to Ram Nath Kovind's presidential nomination

Putting an end to speculation, BJP President Amit Shah announced on Monday that Ram Nath Kovind, Bihar Governor and Dalit leader, will be the NDA's presidential candidate.

"We have decided that Ram Nath Kovind will be NDA Presidential candidate", BJP president Amit Shah said after a almost two-hour meeting here of the party's Parliamentary Board attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior leaders.

Meanwhile, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu said that their respective parties have offered full support to the NDA on their selection of the presidential candidate.

The BJP's parliamentary board backed the nomination of Ram Nath Kovind, governor of Bihar, Amit Shah told a news conference in New Delhi.

While all NDA allies have been informed of the BJP choice, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders about the NDA choice, the BJP President said.

Sitaram Yechury, CPM general secretary said that Ram Nath Kovind headed the Dalit wing of the RSS and by announcing his name, the BJP has made the presidential election a political fight.

& worked for poor & marginalised. "With his illustrious background in the legal arena, Shri Kovind's knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation.", Modi said.

Banerjee said someone of the stature of current President Pranab Mukherjee, Union Minister Sushma Swaraj or BJP patriarch LK Advani may have been made the candidate.

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Shiv Sena, a BJP ally which has played hot and cold over supporting it on the presidential candidate, said it would take a call soon. "We feel that definitely there is a need for a democratic candidate, not from hardcore of the RSS", he told PTI in Hyderabad. They said that instead of waiting for the BJP to forge a consensus, the Opposition should have preempted it by naming its candidate first.

Hailing the decision, Pema said Kovind with his humble background and vast experience would make one of the best Presidents and uphold the sanctity of the highest post of the country.

71-year-old Kovind is a Dalit leader from Kanpur.

Nitish Kumar also praised him for his exemplary work as Bihar Governor, for working impartially and maintaining an ideal relationship with the Bihar government. However, she stopped short of expressing support for Kovind and said her party would be "positive" provided the opposition did not field any Dalit.

The Sena's stance on Kovind's candidature in the upcoming election will be considered crucial as the party is a BJP partner both at the center and in Maharashtra. When we asked on whom they want to build consensus, they had no answer then.

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.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has said that it will not make a comment till the meeting on 22 June occurs. "We will also discuss the name announced by the NDA".

A critical chink in the opposition ranks was reflected in Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar's statement.

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