Presidential Election 2017: Everyone has been trying to figure out who Ram Nath Kovind is, the man who has been picked by the ruling NDA as its presidential candidate. Turns out, he is not such an unknown quantity after all. The links that are revealed show that he was a long-time supporter of PM Modi. Ram Nath Kovind had supported Prime Minister Modi in the SIT probes ensuing in the wake of the Gujarat riots, reported ABP news. Modi was then the Chief Minister of the state. Modi’s run for the Prime Minsiter’s office in 2014 led to Kovind being named the Governor of Bihar by the NDA government in August 2015. Modi had then praised Kovind for working towards the cause of Dalits his whole life. In January this year, Modi met Kovind in Bihar at a Prakash Parv celebration and the decision to make the latter a presidential candidate likely started from there. Soon after declaring Kovind the NDA presidential candidate, Modi tweeted, “Shri Ram Nath Kovind, a farmer’s son, comes from a humble background. He devoted his life to public service & worked for poor & marginalised.”
Kovind’s Dalit background would send a message of inclusiveness to the rest of the community, which would help BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, according to ABP News. Ram Nath Kovind is from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, a state with the largest number of Dalit population at 20%. If the BJP wants the same amount of votes in 2019 elections as in the 2014 presidential elections, then playing the Dalit card might work, according to ABP news. The Opposition has nominated former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar for the presidential poll, who is a Dalit.