There was a lot of speculation around the Presidential candidate that the NDA would put up and there was an expectation that the opposition would unite and oppose whoever it would be. Modiji and Amit Shah have however once again shown their political acumen by picking a candidate that is going to be difficult for most parties to oppose.
The choice of Ram Nath Kovind, a senior Dalit leader of the BJP from Uttar Pradesh and a two-time Rajya Sabha Member, is one that few people expected. His nomination to the post of President will be difficult to oppose for any party as they would appear to be anti-Dalit.
Modiji and Amit Shah also made sure to inform opposition members like Sonia Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh, Nitish Kumar and others in hoping to build consensus around Kovind. Mayawati has already come out in support of the candidate and said unless the opposition can nominate another Dalit candidate with better credentials her party would support the government, while Nitish Kumar has come out in support for the former Bihar Governer.
In my view, the elevation of Ram Nath Kovind is an important recognition for the work done by him in bringing forward the cause of the Dalits, the poor and the downtrodden without moving away from the mainstream.
Too often parties like the BSP have tried to use the Dalit community as a political bargaining tool and brought negativity to a discussion that every single citizen of India needs to be having and that is about making sure the weakest among us are not left behind as we strive to forge a new India.
Ram Nath Kovind has been working in the BJP for decades now and by recognizing his efforts, Modiji has proved once more that BJP is a party where merit is the only criteria for moving ahead.
The Congress-led opposition has put forward the name of Meira Kumar, another Dalit candidate to be the next President which is quite strange at this juncture considering they did not nominate her when they themselves were in power.
It is clear that Congress and its allies do not have the numbers to decide who occupies Raisina Hill next but they are going to go ahead and oppose the government just for the sake of opposing it. As someone who has partnered with them in many elections, Nitish Kumar has an excellent understanding of how the Congress party functions and he has said that Meira Kumar as been nominated only to lose.
I am hopeful that the NDA with support from other allies and parties that independently assess the candidate without political maneuvering blinding them will be enough to garner enough votes for Ram Nath Kovind to be the next President of India.