Tahlka News Bureau
New Delhi: and face of Dalits Ram Nath Kovind has been nominated as National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned down party veterans Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi.
The candidate was decided in a two-hour long meeting held for examining from a long list of top leaders consisting External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. social justice minister Thawar Chand Gehlot and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Here are four reasons why the Dalit leader was picked:
Further the Dalit agenda
Picking up Kovind will push further the Dalit agenda, a fresh strategy by BJP and RSS for integrating Dalits into Hindu society. The BJP will highlight the fact that it chose a lower leader for the country's top post at a time when it has absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, apposition that allows it to put a President of its own.
Sidline the veterans
Nominating a Dalit for the post makes it difficult for Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi to futher their own interests in this respect. The party veterans, who were potential candidates for the position of President and vice-president after missing the ministerial bus in 2014, had been marginalised in the new BJP setup.
Dividing the Opposition
While NDAs combined strength of MPs and MLAs is closer to the majority mark in the electoral college meant for electing the president, the BJP wants to go one step further and the fizz out of the Opposition's newfound unity. Proping a Dalit for the presidential post helps it achive this purpose. While the Telengana Rashtra Samithi, YSR Congress and the Biju Janata Dal have already announced their support for Kovind, leaders Mayawati and Nitish ahave stated their support under pressure.
Focus on Uttarr Pradesh
India's most populous state is crucial in BJPs checklist. It gave 73 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats to BJP in 2014, and placed the saffron government with two-thirds majority in the 2017 assembly polls. Kovind belongs from a Dalit family of Uttar Pradesh, and he was member of the Rajya Sabha for 12 years and was a member of several parliamentary panels. If elected he will be the second state leader after Modi (who is the Varanasi MP) to land a top post in the government. He will also be the first leader from Uttar Pradseh to be appointed President.