I thank people of Bihar for their support, says Ram Nath Kovind

Putting all speculation to rest, the BJP on Monday announced senior Uttar Pradesh leader and Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, as its nominee for the Presidential poll. The 71-year-old Kovind is a lawyer-turned-politician, whose choice as the BJP-led NDA's presidential candidate is being seen as a political masterstroke.

"There are other big Dalit leaders in the country".

"Kovindji has worked for several years for the backward classes' welfare", BJP chief Amit Shah said while announcing his name soon after the BJP Parliamentary Board meeting held for the goal at the party head office. "So, immediately Chief Minister KCR extended his party TRS' support to NDA", Reddy told ANI.

Kavitha said that after discussing with the party's senior leaders, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao had taken the decision to support the NDA presidential candidate.

Just because he was the leader of Dalit Morcha of the BJP they have made him the candidate.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, spoke to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik whose party, while having lent its support to most of Modi's bills and his "demonetisation" drive, has been at the receiving end of the Bharatiya Janata Party's aggression in the state. "With his illustrious legal background in the legal area, Kovind's knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation", the PM said.

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

Shah had announced the name of Kovind as NDA's consensus candidate for the post of Indian President.

He has also headed groups that work to improve the conditions of Dalits. "I hope all will agree to the name", he said at a press conference. The office of the President is a key post. "Candidate should be someone who will be beneficial for the country", Mamata said. Shah said Sonia had told him that they would get back to him after consulting the party.

But, if sources are to be believed, several other factors like Kovind's not-so-strong RSS links and the Gujarat polls also played a pivotal role in his selection.

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