'Happy' that Bihar Governor is Presidential nominee: Nitish Kumar

"Kovind has discharged his duties in an unbiased manner as the Bihar Governor". Kovind, a Dalit and a lawyer who practised in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for 16 years after which he was a Rajya Sabha MP twice before he was catapulted to gubernatorial office, is expected to bring dividends to the BJP through the Dalit vote in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Both Modi and Shah felt political parties should be informed about the decision and should "not come to know about the candidate through the media".

Thackeray, however, said that they would extend their support only if the decision was taken for the development of the nation.

He further said that the grand old party would not comment on NDA's Presidential nominee as of now and would meet on June 22 to formally discuss the matter. "The final call will be taken in a meeting of all opposition parties on June 22", Azad told reporters.

"On the BJP fielding a Dalit candidate, Azad said, ".

He said Monday's decision on the candidature Kovind has "factored in those views and suggestions". Shah said Sonia had told him that they would get back to him after consulting the party. But the nomination of the BJP's presidential candidate is likely to be filed by June 23, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving for the United States on June 24. YSRCP, an opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, has already offered its support. "A meeting will be held soon to discuss the same", he said.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders say Kovind is well-read and has done well as chief of the BJP's SC/ST cell.

Kovind's nomination follows huge protests a year ago by members of the historically marginalised Dalit community, who make up around 17 per cent of India's population. Kovind would become the second Dalit President of India, after KR Narayanan who served as the President from 1997 to 2002.

Banerjee said someone of the stature of current President Pranab Mukherjee, Union Minister Sushma Swaraj or BJP patriarch LK Advani may have been made the candidate. "All the opposition parties will try to reach a common decision", he added.

However, the opposition may put a candidate in a contest to challenge, but that may yield no result.

Following the announcement, most Opposition leaders indicated that they will announce the name of their own candidate after a meeting of UPA members on 22 June. BJP also is keen to shed its pro-Hindutva image and counter parties like BSP, JD (U), CPI, CPM and RJP who always allege the party as anti-Dalit.

BSP chief Mayawati, a Dalit leader herself, said Kovind can not be opposed unless the opposition fielded a popular Dalit nominee.

Nitish Kumar also praised him for his exemplary work as Bihar Governor, for working impartially and maintaining an ideal relationship with the Bihar government.

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