The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today proposed Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its choice for presidential candidate. The announcement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met party president Amit Shah and other leaders in a meeting held in New Delhi.
"We have decided that Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovindji would be our candidate for President. All parties have been informed about the decision," Amit Shah told reporters. He further added," Ram Nath Kovindji has been working for Dalits, downtrodden and minorities since long."
PM Modi has conveyed the party's decision to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh to seek their support for the BJP's nominee.
The BJP has assigned three senior ministers - Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu to consult with allies like the Shiv Sena and opposition parties.
If elected, Ram Nath Kovind will be the second Dalit Indian President after KR Narayanan.
Ram Nath Kovind is 71 years old. He belongs to the Koli community and has worked extensively in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar before being appointed as Bihar Governor.
Earlier, he headed the party's Dalit base and groomed several leaders for the BJP and the RSS. At one time, the party wanted to project him as an alternative to Mayawati in UP.
Kovind was a Rajya Sabha member between 1994 and 2006 from Uttar Pradesh.
He was an advocate for the Centre at the Supreme Court between 1980 and 1993.