NEW DELHI: The BJP has picked Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its choice for President of India, said party chief Amit Shah today. The announcement was made after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Mr Shah and other top leaders of his party. PM Modi has talked to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh to seek their support for the BJP’s nominee. As a gesture of respect, the BJP also called party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to inform them of its nominee before going public.
1.Ram Nath Kovind is 71 years old, a Dalit and has served as Bihar Governor for three years. He has been asked to travel from Patna to Delhi.
2.Former Prime Minister and Congress leader Manmohan Singh is among opposition leaders who have been informed of the government’s choice, Mr Shah said.
3.The BJP chief refused to comment on how many contenders had been reviewed before the Governor was finalised as the ruling coalition’s candidate.
4.Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar complained this morning that government was taking too long to reveal its nominee “They haven’t decided on any name until now…we can wait for 2-3 days but we cannot wait forever,” he said.
5.Mr Shah made an important visit yesterday – to disgruntled ally the Shiv Sena to seek its support. The Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is keen on either MS Swaminathan, scientist and father of India’s Green Revolution or Mohan Bhagwat, who is the chief of the BJP’s ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS. The Sena will reveal its decision at about 7 pm today, said sources.
6.If an election is held, the BJP and its allies are positioned to make their candidate win because regional parties, including some from the south, have promised to back the ruling alliance.
7.The BJP has assigned three senior ministers – Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu – to consult with allies like the Sena and opposition parties.
8.The PM has personally informed several Chief Ministers including Naveen Patnaik of Odisha and Chandrababu Naidu of Andhra Pradesh about his coalition’s candidate.
9.All BJP lawmakers and ministers have been summoned to Delhi as the party gears up for the nomination process of its candidates.
10.Mr Kovind, who will file his nomination papers on June 23, is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs for the US on Friday so all formalities are likely to be completed before then.