Bhartiya Janata Party’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind will file his nomination papers on Friday in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, most BJP-led NDA chief ministers along with heads of some other parties who backed his candidature.
Besides the NDA’s voters that comprise more than 48.6 per cent of votes in the electoral college, regional parties such as AIADMK, BJD, TRS and JD(U) have declared their support to the Dalit leader. Thus, his win is almost inevitable.
Kovind is certain to get over 61 per cent of the vote, and the tally may upsurge depending on how some still-undecided regional parties vote, said a BJP source.
However, a group of opposition parties on Thursday declared that former Speaker Meira Kumar, also a Dalit leader, would be their joint candidate against Kovind. The poll is slated for July 17 and the counting of votes will take place on July 20. The tenure of President Pranab Mukherjee will end on July 24.
If elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit to inhabit the top constitutional post. The first was K R Narayanan, who was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1997-2002.