Presidential Election 2017: BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday announced Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its nominee for presidential poll. Apart from BJP leaders and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed happiness over the decision. The Chief Minister yesterday paid a courtesy visit to Kovind at the Raj Bhawan in Patna. Kumar said that in his capacity as the Chief Minister, it was a matter of happiness that Bihar Governor has been declared as the candidate for the next president of India. Kumar, however, did not commit the support of JD(U) in this regard.
It has been learned that Kovind and Kumar share ideal relations, according to Indian Express report. Kovind had taken over the charge in August, 2015. Unlike his predecessors, Kovind improved relations with CM Kumar, the report says. After the Kovind’s appointment as the state Governor, JD(U) had accused Prime Minister Modi of playing Dalit card. But that changed after Nitish Kumar returned to power. Since then, Kumar never criticised Kovind as BJP man or who listened only to Delhi. Both of them maintained a good rapport and worked in tandem.
Devanand Konwar, who was Governor from June 2009 to March 2013, had shared a prickly relationship with the government and confrontations over appointment of Vice-Chancellors, adversely impacting higher education in the state for a good part of Nitish’s second term that began in 2010. Kovind had also appointed several VCs and pro VCs but the government raised no objections.
The relations were further strengthened during the implementation of Bihar Excise (Amendment) Bill. While, Opposition parties, media flayed government over the provisions of the new prohibition law, the Governor gave his assent. Kovind, a former lawyer, chose to leave it to Patna High Court to adjudicate on criticisms of the prohibition law. This made Kumar happy but irked several state BJP leaders, according to IE report.
Watch this video
From purely political point of view, Kovind’s Dalit origin also suits Kumar. Kumar earlier had tried to woo Mahadalit community by appointing Jitan Ram Manjhi as Chief Minister in May 2014. That experiment had failed miserably. Kumar is keen to hold up the flag for regional aspirations, cater to his constituency, and to boost his national image — in supporting Kovind, he will get them all, the IE report says.
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.