Bihar Governor Kovind is NDA nominee for President's post

Springing a surprise, the BJP on Monday named Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit and a BJP leader, as the ruling NDA's candidate for the July 17 Presidential election.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the BJP members had told them that they would inform the name of the candidate before announcing the name but they failed to do it.

Naidu was also entrusted with the responsibility of seeking support from Trinamul Congress chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to the NDA's candidate. We only want to say that we had expected that before they take the final decision on the candidate they will come back to us and other political parties to build consensus first.

But political observers said it could be hard for rival parties to oppose a Dalit candidate.

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"We hope to have a political consensus", Shah said.

After meeting Modi, Kovind briefly visited the Bihar Niwas where he declined to answer any question from the media and only said, "I thank everyone".

Kovind's nomination follows huge protests previous year by members of the historically marginalised Dalit community, who make up around 17 per cent of India's population. He's been President of the BJP Dalit Morcha and President of All India Koli Samaj. "But it is their will, they are free to take a one-sided unilateral decision", Azad added.

The Congress leader said it would have been better had the ruling party nominated someone neutral rather than a hardcore leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) like Kovind. He sought the support of the BJD in this regard.

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Polls close in Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties - the three that include part of the district - at 7 p.m. A loss, though, would be a major disappointment. "If he wins, they win", a voiceover says.

PM Modi also spoke with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (JD-U), Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik (BJD), Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (TRS) and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu (TDP). Though BJP had managed to break BSP's stranglehold over the Dalit vote in UP assembly elections, the increasing friction between upper and lower castes in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and UP has led to the rise of a young and oppositional Dalit leadership.

"I am not saying that the Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is unfit to be the President".

Earlier in the day, O'Brien took a dig at BJP by tweeting that he had to log on to Wikipedia and enquire about nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

"They informed us of their choice only after announcing their decision".

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On two previous occasions, the Shiv Sena has parted the with National Democratic Alliance and supported United Progressive Alliance candidates: in 2007 when Pratibha Patil won the election and in 2012 when incumbent Pranab Mukherjee was elected.

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