Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind has been declared as NDA’s Presidential candidate. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah made the announcement at a press conference held on June 19. “Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind has been decided as our candidate for president,” Amit Shah told the media.

Putting an end to all the speculations, Amit Shah told the media that Ram Nath Kovind had made an immense contribution and had worked hard for Dalits and backward communities. “Ram Nath Kovind has struggled for the upliftment of Dalit and backward communities,” Amit Shah said. The party president further affirmed that the decision has been taken after thorough discussion with the leaders of the opposition adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to Congress President Sonia Gandhi too.

“PM Narendra Modi has himself spoken to Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. Everyone is aware of this decision,” Shah stated. However, Amit Shah said that no names have been finalised for the post of Vice-president.

The Presidential poll is all set to be conducted on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee’s tenure comes to an end next month on July 24. The Election Commission had announced that while the presidential polls will take place on July 17, the counting of votes will take place three days later i.e. on July 20.

As per several media reports, the decision was taken in a special meeting in presence of some of the senior party leaders including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Venkaiah Naidu.

Born on October 1, 1945 in Kanpur, 71-year-old Ram Nath Kovind is an advocate by profession and practices in Delhi. He has also been the national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party. If he manages to get support and get selected, he will be the second Dalit to become the President of the country after KR Narayanan.

The names of  BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were also doing the rounds for NDA’s probable presidential candidate. Some of the reports also suggested that Sushma Swaraj was also in the race for the Presidential election 2017. However, no official announcement was made until now. Meeting of Opposition parties will take place on 22nd June.

While the BJP asserted that the opposition parties were consulted before making the announcement, Congress cried foul and claimed that they were informed only after the announcement was made. “When BJP leaders met us, they said will inform you before any announcement for a consensus, but they informed after the decision,” Ghulam Nabi Azad told the reporters soon after Amit Shah’s press conference.

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