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  India   All India  25 Jun 2017  Wrap-up: Prez poll turns warm-up match

Wrap-up: Prez poll turns warm-up match

Published : Jun 25, 2017, 2:26 am IST
Updated : Jun 25, 2017, 2:26 am IST

BJP and opposition pick dalits with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Opposition Presidential candidate Meira Kumar and NDA Presidential Candidate Ram Nath Kovind. (Photo: PTI)
 Opposition Presidential candidate Meira Kumar and NDA Presidential Candidate Ram Nath Kovind. (Photo: PTI)

If you think that there is nothing apolitical about the election to pick the resident of magnificent palace at Raisina Hill, you are mistaken.

In 1990s, the President  had assumed importance due to the coalition politics in the country as  he/she holds key in the event of a split verdict in the elections. This could be considered as passive participation in politics.

After over two decades in 2017, the President election appears to have become a warm-up match for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, with both the ruling BJP alliance and the Opposition Cong-ress and its allies nominating Dalits — Ram Nath Kovind by the BJP and Meira Kumar by the Opposition — for the President’s post.


Former Bihar governor Kovind, who is a lawyer by profession, a Dalit (leader) by caste, a Hindutva ideologue by thinking and a dedicated BJP worker by political affiliation, is considered to be a non-partisan and non-controversial person.

He filed his nomination papers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, party veterans L.K. Advani and Murli Man-ohar Joshi and 15 chief ministers, including two from non-NDA parties.

If one goes by the arithmetic of electoral college which elects the Presi-dent, there could be no doubt about the winning prospects of the former Bihar governor. Mr Kovind will be the second Dalit to occupy the office after K.R. Narayanan, who was at Rashtrapati Bhavan from 1997 to 2002.

Despite the votes are in favour of the ruling pa-rty’s nominee, the Cong-ress and the Communists are determined to contest the election to make it an ideological battle — communal versus secular.

After filing his nomination, Mr Kovind  reached out to the Opposition parties and said that the post of President was above party politics and that he would strive to maintain its dignity.

Mr Kovind would be the first person from the right leaning ideology occupying the office of the President as last time the BJP-led NDA had to accept a compromise candidate in the form of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

The last date for nomination is June 28, and after the elections, counting will be done on July 20.

Tags: ram nath kovind, dalit, meira kumar, presidential candidate