While several names from Draupadi Murmu to Sushma Swaraj and Meira Kumar were being speculated, BJP President Amit Shah on Monday announced that Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind will be the NDA’s Presidential candidate.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board on Monday.
PM Narendra Modi chaired the meeting which was attended by Amit Shah and Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Nitin Gadkari.
The 71-year-old is a Dalit leader from Kanpur who practiced as a lawyer in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for about 16 years till 1993.
He was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in April 1994 and served for two consecutive terms till March 2006.
Kovind has also served as a member on the Board of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.
He represented India at the United Nations and addressed the UN General Assembly in 2002.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena which is in alliance with the NDA at the Centre, said that the BJP should have discussed with its allies before finalising the candidate.
Sena MP Sanjay Raut, speaking with news channel NDTV, said: “You made a three-member committee, Amit Shah has met other leaders, then what is the point in all this… They (BJP) have the complete freedom to choose the candidate, it is the biggest party, they lead the NDA, we have trust in the prime minister… BJP should have discussed the name with all the NDA constituents.”
Earlier, a three-member team had been constituted by the party to choose a candidate for the election. Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu were part of the team that met Opposition leaders to arrive at a consensus. But the Opposition was insistent that the candidate must have strong secular credentials and had ruled out support for a candidate with a Hindutva background.