The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party proposed Bihar governor and Dalit leader Ram Nath Kovind’s name for India’s next president on Monday June 19,2017, a move being seen as part of the party’s outreach towards the country’s backward castes
Ram Nath Kovind took over as the Bihar governor two years ago. He studied law from Kanpur University and was central government’s standing council in the Supreme Court between 1980 and 1993. The old Dalit leader from Kanpur also served the national spokesman of the BJP.
He was elected and became a member of the Upper House in April 1994 from Uttar Pradesh and served for two consecutive terms till March, 2006.
Kovind also headed the BJP’s Scheduled Caste Morcha between 1999 and 2002, the period during which Modi was BJP’s general secretary (organisation). He comes from the Koli community, which is classified as scheduled caste in Uttar Pradesh
At a press conference in Delhi after a meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board, party chief Amit Shah announced the 71-year-old former lawyer and two-time Rajya Sabha MP’s name
Prime Minister Modi said he was sure that Kovind will “will make an exceptional President”, highlighting the Bihar governor’s humble background.
The decision is likely to put many opposition leaders such as Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati and Samajwadi Party in a tight spot, because it might be difficult for them to oppose a Dalit leader due to political equations.