New Delhi: India is set to get its second Dalit president as the BJP on Monday picked Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA nominee for the top constitutional post.

The 71-year-old low profile Dalit leader, a two-term BJP Rajya Sabha member, is seen as an astute choice by the saffron party, which has been targeted by opposition parties over Dalit issues, and his election is almost a certainty as the ruling bloc with the support of some regional parties enjoys a majority in the electoral college. K R Narayanan was the country's first Dalit president.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar

BJP President Amit Shah made the announcement following over two-hour long meeting of the party's parliamentary board, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior party leaders. Seeking support from opposition parties, Shah said Modi spoke to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought their support. Top BJP leaders also spoke to various opposition parties and also got in touch with their allies. Kovind, a lawyer, two-term Rajya Sabha MP and former president of the BJP's 'Dalit Morcha', is likely to file his papers on June 23.

Kovind Will Be Exceptional President: Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind will make an "exceptional" President and continue to be a strong voice for the poor and the marginalised communities.

Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah earlier named Bihar Governor Kovind, a Dalit and a BJP leader, as the ruling National Democratic Alliance candidate for the July 17 Presidential election. "I am sure Kovind will make an exceptional President and continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised," Modi tweeted. In another tweet, Modi said: "With his illustrious background in the legal arena, Kovind's knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation." Modi said Kovind, a farmer's son, comes from a humble background and had devoted his life to public service and worked for the poor and marginalised.

TRS To Support NDA's Presidential Candidate

Hyderabad: The ruling TRS in Telangana said the party would support NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

According to a statement from the office of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, soon after deciding the candidature of Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Rao over phone and requested his support for the NDA's candidate. "The prime minister told the chief minister over phone, as per your (KCR's) suggestion we have decided upon a Dalit candidate for the presidential post," it said. The chief minister immediately consulted his party colleagues and conveyed to the prime minister the TRS's "willingness and his willingness" to support the NDA candidate.

TDP Welcomes BJP's Choice For President's Post

Amaravati (AP): The Telugu Desam Party, an ally of the NDA, welcomed the BJP's decision to put up Bihar Governor and Dalit leader Ram Nath Kovind as the alliance's candidate for the presidential election.

TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu hailed Kovind's candidature as "the right choice" for the highest constitutional post and pledged his party's full support to him. "You have chosen a right candidate for the top post. An intellectual with high values belonging to the Dalit community is very apt in all respects for the president's post," Naidu told Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who called him this afternoon to inform him about Kovind's choice. A communication from the chief minister's office said Naidu announced that the TDP would extend complete support for Kovind's candidature.

YSRCP Assures Support To NDA Nominee For President’s Post

YSRCP president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy assured BJP president Amit Shah that his party would extend support to the candidature of Ram Nath Kovind. Following a phone call from Amit Shah, the YSRCP chief made the above remarks. He reminded Amit Shah that there should not be competition for the constitutional highest post in the country.

Meanwhile YSRCP MP Vijayasai Reddy met Ram Nath Kovind and conveyed the party’s wishes on being nominated for the president’s post.