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There are other big Dalit leaders too, says Mamata Banerjee

There are other big Dalit leaders too, says Mamata Banerjee

A source in the CPI (M) also told Catch that the fact that BJP Chief Amit Shah announced his name makes it clear that forget across-the-board consensus, Kovind is only BJP's candidate, not even NDA's.

The NDA's presidential nominee and Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind today said he will meet leaders of major political parties and seek their support to emerge as a "consensus candidate" for the coveted post.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday welcomed the BJP's decision to name Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the NDA candidate for the Presidential election, terming it a huge honour for the Dalit community.

Interestingly, BSP chief Mayawati said her party was "positive" on Kovind's name as he is a Dalit, but only if the Opposition doesn't announce a popular Dalit name.

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

Earlier, Kovind thanked the Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party for reposing faith in him for such a big resposibility. She added that "it would have been better if the NDA had named some non-political Dalit person as the Presidential candidate".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has Kovind and has said that with his illustrious background in the legal arena, the latter's knowledge and understanding of the Constitution would benefit the nation.

71-year-old Kovind is a Dalit leader from Kanpur.

Paying his gratitude to Kovind for serving Bihar, Kumar said the former has served with distinction during his tenure as the states Governor.

A sulking Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray disapproved of caste being the basis for Presidency. BJP President Amit Shah was also present in the meeting.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar called on Kovind immediately after Shah's announcement.

He was speaking to the media here after congratulating Kovind.

The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, refused to go into the merits and demerits of the Ram Nath Kovind. He, however, said a detailed discussion would be held on the matter within the JD (U).

"But they informed us after announcing this decision so there is no scope for consensus now... we were not expecting this from the ruling party. They told us that they will consider our suggestions but have now announced their candidate unilaterally in a non-transparent manner", said Raja. But it seemed confident that it had managed to unsettle the Opposition and strike the right note with its allies. So somewhere it is a political fight or contest. "We are not commenting or giving any character certificate to anyone". A lawyer for 16 years, he practised in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court (SC). "On the other hand, if the party abstains from voting then it will create troubles for BJP". This move will, BJP hopes, reinforce its recent successes in co-opting Dalit communities into its fold, the larger project of consolidation of a mass base that it envisages for itself.