Presidential candidate of the ruling alliance Ram Nath Kovind on Friday filed his nomination papers in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who acted as his first proposer. Also, chief ministers of 20 states were present. Kovind has the support of most BJP-led NDA chief ministers, besides the heads of some other parties supporting his candidature.
Besides the NDA’s constituents, which comprise over 48.6 per cent of votes in the electoral college that will elect the next president, regional parties such as the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and JD(U) have announced their support to the Dalit leader, making his win an almost foregone conclusion.
In the first set, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the proposer, while Home Minister Rajnath Singh was the seconder. In the second set, BJP president Amit Shah was the proposer and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be the seconder.
BJP’s ally in Punjab and SAD leader Prakash Singh Badal was also made a proposer in the third set and Venkaiah Naidu was the seconder.
I am thankful to all those who have supported me, will try to maintain the dignity of the post: Ram Nath Kovind
President of India is above politics. Ever since I took over as Governor, I have no political affiliation: Ram Nath Kovind
Constitution of India is supreme. We have to uphold the values enshrined in our Constitution, says Ram Nath Kovind after filing nomination papers
Ram Nath Kovind files his nomination papers for presidential election in presence of PM Modi and CMs of 20 states
CMs of 20 states are present as Ram Nath Kovind is all set to file nomination papers today
PM Modi arrives in Parliament as Ram Nath Kovind will file nomination papers today
LK Advani arrives in Parliament
I will ask Nitish ji to reconsider his decision, Meira Kumar will win: Lalu Yadav on JDU's support to NDA presidential candidate Ram N Kovind
Telugu Desham Party National President and CM of Andhra Pradesh, Chandra Babu was also made a proposer in the fourth set while EAM Sushma Swaraj was the seconder. BJP President Amit Shah was also present when Kovind filed his papers.
Kovind is guaranteed to get more than 61 per cent of the vote, and the finally tally may increase depending on how some still-undecided regional parties vote, BJP source said.
Read | Cong chief Sonia Gandhi announces former LS Speaker Meira Kumar as opposition's candidate
A group of opposition parties had on Wednesday announced that former Speaker Meira Kumar, also a Dalit leader, would be their joint candidate against Kovind.The election is scheduled for July 17 and the counting of votes will take place on July 20.
The term of President Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24.
Once elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit to occupy the highest constitutional office. The first was KR Narayanan, who was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1997-2002.A low profile Dalit leader who held various organisational positions in the BJP, Kovind, 71, was made the Bihar Governor in 2015 after the NDA came to power in May 2014.
The name of the two-term Rajya Sabha member did not figure among the probable but his nomination by the BJP is now being seen as a “political masterstroke”.
He enjoys a clean reputation and has steered clear of any controversy in his over 26-year-old political career. His Dalit background makes him a sound political choice for the saffron party working overtime to woo Dalits.