New Delhi, June 19: After announcing the name of Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the presidential candidate of National Democratic Alliance on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the nation will benefit from the experience and illustrious background in the legal arena that Kovind mastered through last several decades. PM Modi further added, “I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden & marginalised.”

The announcement of Kovind’s name for Presidential nominee came as a surprise to many political observers who were busy guessing more prominent names like Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and senior leader Thavar Chand Gehlot.

Ram Nath Kovind was Central Government Advocate in Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and Central Government Standing Counsel in Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. He became Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978. He practised in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for about 16 years till 1993. He was enrolled as an Advocate in 1971 with the Bar Council of Delhi. [Also read: Ram Nath Kovind is NDA’s Presidential nominee, all you need to know about him]

Kovind was elected and became Rajya Sabha MP in April 1994 from Uttar Pradesh and served for two consecutive terms for 12 years till March 2006. Kovind served as Member of Board of Management of Dr. B.R Ambedkar University, Lucknow. He also served as Member of Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.

The announcement of Kovind also baffled the opposition leaders as it would be very difficult for the opposition to go ahead with a non-Dalit candidate. To counter his candidature, the Congress may field its own Dalit face former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, say reports even though the Opposition is yet to decide on a name.