Bengal Guv Gets Additional Charge of Bihar After Kovind Resigns

  • Ram Nath Kovind resigns as the Governor of Bihar
  • West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi gets additional charge of Bihar
  • Kovind is the NDA’s presidential nominee
  • Amit Shah said by far most people had given their consent to the BJP’s choice
  • If he gets through, Kovind will be the first president from Uttar Pradesh
  • Opposition parties are scheduled to meet on 22 June
  • TDP, TRS and YSR Congress extend support to NDA’s presidential candidate

Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut and Anandrao Adsul to take part in Ram Nath Kovind's nomination on 23 June.

A key ally of the ruling BJP, Shiv Sena ended the suspense on its support to NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, saying it will back him.

The Shiv Sena announced this a day after its chief Uddhav Thackeray stated that Sena was not interested in backing Kovind if his candidature is aimed at garnering Dalit votes.

"After holding discussions with our party leaders, we have decided to back the NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. After our support, I do not think it will be difficult for the BJP to get him elected," Thackeray told reporters at his residence 'Matoshree' in suburban Bandra this evening.

West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi will discharge the functions of the Governor of Bihar Kovind, in addition to his own duties, it said.

The presidential election, if required, will be held on 17 July.

Following his nomination as NDA’s presidential candidate, Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind resigned from his post on Tuesday.

President Pranab Mukherjee has accepted the resignation of Kovind as the Governor of Bihar, a communique issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan said.

Playing the Dalit card, the BJP on Monday threw a surprise by nominating Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA choice for the President's post, stunning the opposition which accused the ruling party of unilateralism.

Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah announced the name of Kovind, 71, after a nearly two-hour meeting of the BJP parliamentary board attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others, ending all suspense about the NDA's candidature for the top constitutional post.

Though the main opposition parties did not criticise Kovind, who emerged as a dark horse, they kept their cards close to the chest on whether they would back him.

Barring the TRS and the BJD which expressed support to Kovind, all other non-BJP parties accused the ruling party of unilateralism and will meet here on Thursday to finalise their strategy for the July 17 battle.

Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu insisted that all parties were consulted.

On his part, the soft-spoken Kovind said he would appeal to all political parties and members of the electoral college to back him.

Bihar Governor and NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi.

#WATCH: Bihar Governor and NDA presidential nominee #RamNathKovind meets PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi.

— ANI (@ANI_news) June 19, 2017

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik extended his party’s support to NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke out on NDA’s presidential nominee and said, “If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the purpose of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them.”

But if it is for the development of the nation then Shiv Sena may support it, he added.

Bihar Governor and NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind was welcomed by top BJP leaders in Delhi upon his arrival. He will be meeting PM Modi shortly.

(Photo: ANI)

The opposition AINRC in Puducherry extended support to NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

Leader of the opposition and AINRC founder N Rangasamy said in a release that "AINRC extends its full support to Kovind for his win in the presidential election." Rangasamy said that Kovind, born in a modest agriculturist family, had dedicated himself in public life and had been serving the nation.

AINRC has a strength of eight members in the 30 member Puducherry Assembly.

All the 30 elected legislators of Puducherry are members of the electoral college.

The opposition YSR Congress party in Andhra Pradesh announced its support to the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind.

YSRC president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy announced that his party would support Kovind's candidature for the top post as he was a Dalit leader.

Jagan gave this assurance to BJP chief Amit Shah, when the latter called him over the phone this afternoon seeking the YSRC's support for the ruling coalition's nominee.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday reserved her comments on NDA's president nominee Ram Nath Kovind, saying that the candidate for the coveted post should be someone who could be beneficial for the nation.

"In order to support someone, we must know the person. Candidate should be someone who will be beneficial for the country. Opposition will meet on 22nd June, then only we can announce our decision," said Banerjee.

"I am not saying that the Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is unfit to be the President. I have spoken to other Opposition leaders, they are also surprised. There are other big Dalit leaders in the country. Just because he was the leader of Dalit Morcha of BJP they have made him the candidate. The office of President is a key post. Someone of the stature of Pranab Mukherjee, or even Sushma Swaraj or Advani ji may have been made the candidate." She added.

NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind left from Raj Bhawan in Patna for Delhi to meet PM Modi.

BSP’s Mayawati said that it would have been better if the NDA had named some non political Dalit person as the presidential nominee.

However, she said that her party will support Ram Nath Kovind as he is a dalit person.

She said that her party will go with Kovind unless the Opposition choses a a popular dalit name.

Bihar Governor and NDA’s presidential nominee Ramnath Kovind is going to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi later today.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that it was a matter of personal happiness for him that Ram Nath Kovind was selected as NDA’s presidential but he didn’t say anything about supporting the decision.

“He has done exemplary work (as the Governor of Bihar), worked with impartiality, maintained an ideal relationship with the state government,” Kumar added.

CPI said it wants the Opposition to put up a candidate against NDA’s presidential nominee.

“Ram Nath Kovind was the chief of RSS’ Dalit branch, this is a clear political fight,” Sitaram Yechury said.

JDU leader Sharad Yadav said that the Opposition parties will meet on 22 June and will talk about the NDA candidate.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad refused to comment on NDA’s presidential nominee and said that the party will meet and decide their party.

“When the BJP leaders met us, they said they will inform the Congress before any announcement for a consensus, but they informed after decision,” he added.

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.

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 PM Modi, who called him this afternoon to inform him about Kovind's choice.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will convene a meeting of party leaders to decide on supporting the NDA's choice for President, party MP Sanjay Raut said on Monday.

“Amit Shah called up Uddhavji after the NDA’s presidential candidate was decided in the BJP’s Parliamentary Board meeting. Shah sought the Sena’s support for Ram Nath Kovind,” Raut told reporters.

"Uddhavji told him that he will convene a meeting of the party leaders to arrive on a decision and convey our answer to him in one-two days," he said

The Sena MP said Thackeray may "answer many questions later this evening" when he will address the party workers on the Shiv Sena's 51st foundation day.

"We had suggested two names for the post. One was of (RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat. If they had a problem with that, we wanted (eminent agriculturist) M S Swaminathan. But since they have chosen some other name, the party will convey to the BJP our decision soon," Raut said.

Opposition parties will meet on 22 June to decide on fielding a consensus candidate for the presidential election, with the NDA declaring Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its nominee for the post, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal said.

"The parties will meet and decide whether or not to field a consensus opposition candidate for the 17 July presidential election," he said.

CPI national secretary D Raja said Union ministers Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu, who were part of the BJP's three-member panel formed to hold discussions and build a consensus on a presidential candidate, had not propose any name.

"Now, they have named a person with RSS background. We are against it, but we will have to discuss the issue within the CPI and with other opposition parties. A meeting will be held soon to discuss the same," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to talk about the NDA’s presidential nominee and said, “I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President and continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised.”

Calling him a farmer’s son coming from a humble background, he also tweeted the following:

Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is the NDA's presidential nominee, BJP chief Amit Shah announced on 19 June. The announcement was made post the BJP parliamentary committee meet. However, the NDA allies must endorse BJP’s nomination of Ram Nath Kovind.

Kovind, a lawyer by profession, began his career in 1971 and was enrolled in the Bar Council of India. He worked in the capacity of an advocate for the central government in Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979. Throughout his 16-year-long legal career, he has practised in both the Delhi HC and the Supreme Court.

Read the full story on The Quint.

When Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit politician from Uttar Pradesh, was chosen as the governor of Bihar in 2015, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had said the choice wasn’t made in consultation with him.

Nitish Kumar told Hindustan Times in 2015As per the precedent so far, the central government, the home minister talks to the state government, its chief minister on it (appointment of governor)... This time there is no consultation. I have also got the information (about the appointment) through media.

The Shiv Sena is yet to take a call on whether they will support the BJP’s choice or not.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently speaking with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek their support.

The meeting of Opposition parties will be held on 22 June.

Venkaiah Naidu informed LK Advani and MM Joshi before the announcement of name of Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA presidential candidate.

Amit Shah said that the BJP parliamentary board have decided to pitch Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind as the candidate for the presidential polls.

Introducing the NDA’s candidate, Amit shah said that Ram Nath Kovind has been an old member of the BJP. Shah stressed on his Dalit background, adding that Kovind has always fought for the Dalit, poor and other background classes.

He also informed reporters that Modi has spoken to senior Congress members Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh about the choice of the candidate.

By and large I think most people agree on the choice of candidate. There has been no discussion yet on names for the Vice President.

BJP President Amit Shah likely to announce name of the presidential nominee in a press conference.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi left the BJP headquarters as the Parliamentary board meeting ended.

The BJP parliamentary board meeting is still underway but EAM Sushma Swaraj left the meeting early due to prior appointments.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar said that BJP hasn’t decided on a candidate yet.

They haven’t decided on a name yet,even when Arun Jaitley ji rang me, he didn’t have a name for presidential candidate.

Senior BJP leaders gathered at the BJP headquarters and begin meeting to discuss presidential polls. The BJP will possibly decide the nominee before PM Modi leaves for US.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived with his cavalcade at the BJP headquarters.

Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Venkaiah Naidu arrived at the BJP headquarters at Raisina Hill for the BJP Parliamentary board meeting to discuss possible candidates for the presidential polls.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to arrive shortly.

Also Read: Presidential Polls: NDA Has Majority – Will It Be Murmu or Swaraj?

The BJP Parliamentary Board will meet on 19 June to take a decision on the ruling party’s presidential nominee.

The meeting, of the party's highest decision making body, will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.

It is not clear whether the board will announce its candidate on Monday as a party leader said it may authorise Shah to take a call.

Also Read: Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu To Be India’s Next President?

The board members will be briefed about the consultation undertaken by a three-member party committee with allies and opposition parties. The committee members include Union ministers Rajnath Singh, M Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley, who are also the members of the Board. The BJP’s three member panel will hold talks with the Opposition to achieve a consensus on their choice of a candidate.

Reports suggest that Gopalkrishna Gandhi could be a potential candidate with Left parties.

Names of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, senior BJP leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Advani, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan are doing the rounds, but so far, PM Modi has been tight-lipped about the name of the proposed candidate.

(With inputs from PTI)

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