[India], June 20 (ANI): Supporting the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) decision of naming Bihar Governor Ramnath Kovind for the post of the President, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday said the latter is an "epitome of decency and dignity" and deserves to hold the highest position of the country.
"I am happy that Ramnath Kovind has been nominated for the post of the President and he is going to be the President of India for sure. Kovind is an epitome of decency and dignity. We nominated him as he was born in a simple Dalit family, and he knows the Constitution so well. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) thinks he deserves to hold the highest post of the country," Prasad said after meeting Kovind.
"He understands the Indian Constitution, the Parliamentary system and most importantly, he understands the Indian politics. Being born in a Dalit family, he was never afraid of challenges and always faced it. A large number of regional parties are supporting Kovind and we believe this will continue," he added.
Commenting on the Opposition, Prasad said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested Sonia Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh to support the NDA nominee.
Earlier on Monday, BJP president Amit Shah announced the name of Kovind as NDA's consensus candidate for the post of Indian President.
Kovind before leaving for New Delhi yesterday met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and thanked the people of Bihar for their support.
Following the announcement, Prime Minister Modi reached out to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to seek the grand old party's support for Kovind.
Prime Minister Modi also spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E. Palaniswamy over NDA's presidential candidate pick.
The Prime Minister said that Kovind will make an exceptional President and continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised.
However, the decision did not go down well with some of the political parties with Congress alleging that the announcement was made without taking the grand old party into confidence while BJP's ally Shev Sena termed it a political move to lure vote bank.
Joining the critics of NDA's Presidential nominee, Shiv Sena said it would not extend its support if the Centre is eyeing a vote bank by nominating a Dalit face for the upcoming President polls.
"If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the purpose of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said.
Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee didn't seem happy with the Kovind's candidature.
She said that someone of the stature of President Pranab Mukherjee or even External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj or BJP veteran L.K. Advani may have been made the candidate.
The decision, however, was welcomed by some of the political leaders including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
Nitish Kumar expressed his happiness that the Bihar Governor would be the NDA's candidate for the President elections. He, however, said a detailed discussion would be held on the matter within the JD (U).
Kovind belongs to the Dalit community Koli and had worked extensively in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and also has the backing of BJP's ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh(RSS).
A lawyer by profession, Kovind had also been BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha chief (1998-2002) and president of the All-India Koli Samaj.
The election for the next President of India is to be held on July 17 as President Pranab Mukherjee will demit the office on July 24.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued the notification in this regard and the process of the nomination has started that will continue till June 28. (ANI)