Presidential Election 2017: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today threw his weight behind NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind, according to CNN News 18 report. The decision was taken after a party meeting regarding the upcoming presidential elections. JD(U) MLA Ratnesh Sada said that the party has decided to support Ram Nath Kovind, according to ANI report. The 71-year-old low-profile Dalit leader hails from Kanpur of Uttar Pradesh. Kovind, who yesterday resigned as Bihar Governor, was a two-term BJP Rajya Sabha member. Kumar and Kovind reportedly shared a cordial relationship during the latter’s stay at Raj Bhavan in Patna. Kumar had earlier expressed personal happiness but did not commit support to Kovind’s candidature.
The presidential nominee, who arrived in Delhi on June 19, hours after his name was announced by the BJP, has been accorded a ‘Z+’ cover of NSG commandos.
The election will be held on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee’s term is ending on July 24. The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued the notification in this regard and the process of the nomination will culminate on June 28. The 71-year-old is likely to file his nomination on June 23 and if elected, he will be the second Dalit President after K R Narayanan.
Kovind has also been a champion of SC/ST rights and had taken up their issues at various fora.
As a Rajya Sabha MP, he is said to have lobbied hard for the passage of three amendments in the first NDA government to get some “anti-SC/ST” orders passed by the previous government annulled. Dalit rights bodies had said those orders adversely affected their interests.
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The numbers seem to be in favour of Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA nominee for the post of the President of India.
With the BJD, a faction of the AIADMK, the YSR Congress and the TRS extending support, the prospects of sending Kovind to the Rashtrapati Bhavan have brightened, according to PTI report.