New Delhi, June 19: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday, in a surprise move, nominated Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) nominee for the Presidential candidate. While names like External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, metro man E Sreedharan, and Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu were doing the rounds, the BJP took many by surprise by announcing the name of Kovind as its nominee.
Kovind, a Dalit leader, has been an eminent lawyer for many years in both High Court and Supreme Court. A BJP politician, he has also been a Rajya Sabha member. (Here’s more about Ram Nath Kovind)
BJP President Amit Shah, while announcing the Presidential nominee on Monday, said that Kovind was chosen from a long list of names for the post. He, however, did not disclose as to what were the other names in the list. He said that the BJP has communicated its decision on Kovind to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and that they were awaiting the Opposition’s response to it.
Reactions have now started pouring in as the most-awaited decision by the BJP was out. Here are the reactions as they come in:
JDU leader Rajiv Ranjan: The Janata Dal United remained silent on whether or not it would support Kovind. JDU leader Rajiv Ranjan, while speaking to News18, said that the party will discuss the NDA’s decision and decide on its support soon.
TRS: Telangana Chief Minister and TRS chief KC Rao has extended support to NDA’s presidential candidate after speaking to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sheila Dikshit: Former Delhi chief minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit has called Ram Nath Kovind a ‘good choice’ for the post of the President of India.
Shiv Sena: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has reportedly said that the party will discuss and take a call on whether or not to support Ram Nath Kovind in Presidential elections. “Amit Shah ji informed Uddhav Ji about name of Ram Nath Kovind. Our party will decide on support in a few days,” said Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut.
Sharad Yadav: JDU leader Sharad Yadav has said that the Opposition’s Presidential nominee will be decided in the Opposition meet on June 22. He also said that the name of NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind will also be discussed.
PM Narendra Modi: PM Modi tweets, “Shri Ram Nath Kovind, a farmer’s son, comes from a humble background. He devoted his life to public service & 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. I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden & marginalised.”
D Raja: CPI leader D Raja has said that the Opposition will meet and take a collective decision on the Presidential nominee.
Congress: The Congress is yet to take a call on the NDA’s Presidential nominee and on its own too. “We are not going to comment on this decision yet, nothing to say. BJP leaders, when they met us, said they will inform us before any announcement for a consensus, but they informed after the decision. We will take a call on June 22,” said Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu says TDP will offer full support to NDA’s presidential candidate.
Nitish Kumar: Bihar Chief Minister, who reportedly shares a good rapport with Ram Nath Kovind, met NDA’s Presidential nominee on Monday. “It is a matter of happiness for me personally. As far as support is concerned, can’t say anything right now. it is too early to say,” Nitish Kumar said. “He has done exemplary work (as Guv of Bihar), worked with impartiality, maintained an ideal relationship with the state government,” he added.
Mamata Banerjee: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has lashed out at the NDA for nominating Kovind. “There are other big Dalit leaders in India. He was leader of Dalit Morcha of BJP, so they have made him candidate,” she said.
The Presidential election will be held on July 17 and the counting will take place on July 20.