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All President's men? How leaders welcomed Ram Nath Kovind's nomination

20 Juin 2017

The election of Kovind, 71, as India's 14th President is a virtual certainty with several non-NDA parties too lending their support to BJP's surprise candidature of the little-known dalit activist and a former lawyer. "I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised". It instead said the Sena will take a "final decision" on Kovind in the meeting of its party leaders scheduled here Tuesday.

Criticising the decision of NDA over the presidential candidate West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress Supremo Mamata Banerjee said, "There are other big Dalit leaders in India".

Non-NDA parties like BJD, TRS and YSRCP have announced their support to the Dalit leader. "The Shiv Sena has always kept away from such vote-bank politics", Thackeray said on Monday night at a rally to mark the party's 51st foundation day celebrations.

BSP boss Mayawati said her party was positive about Kovind but wished the ruling alliance had named a non-political Dalit candidate for the top post. Yechury said,"Ram Nath Kovindji RSS ke Dalit sakha ke pramukh thay, wo ek rajneeti hua na".

She said that someone of the stature of President Pranab Mukherjee or even External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj or BJP veteran L.K. Advani may have been made the candidate.

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Following the announcement, Prime Minister Modi reached out to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Dr. "I felt it was my duty to personally meet with him and thank him for a wonderful role he has played in shaping the state", the Chief Minister said adding hurriedly that he would reserve his opinion about supporting his candidacy for a later time. So, there is no question of mutual consent.

Extending support to NDA's presidential nominee, Telangana Chief Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrashekhar Rao said, "A prominent Dalit face as the Presidential nominee is a good decision and we support it". So somewhere it is a political fight or contest.

"It was their (BJP's) proposal that they will get back to the opposition after zeroing on a candidate".

Kovind comes to the highest office after earning praise from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, a political rival to the BJP, for his work as a governor. "Now we will take a call".

Nominations will close on June 28 and an electoral college consisting of elected members of India's federal parliament and state legislatures will decide the victor on July 17.

All President's men? How leaders welcomed Ram Nath Kovind's nomination