Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, a member of the three-member committee set up by BJP president Amit Shah to speak to parties across the political spectrum on a consensus candidate for the presidential polls, said that the candidature of Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind has factored in the views of the opposition parties.
“The three member Committee set up by BJP President Amit Shah for talking to opposition parties has reached out to almost all the parties and conveyed the views and suggestions of various parties to Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and Shri Shah,” said Mr Naidu.
“Ram Nath Kovindji’s candidature meets the expectations of opposition parties as their views were duly factored in,” he said. He added that Mr. Kovind hailed from weaker sections of society and was therefore “fully conversant with issues of social justice and the role of the State within the framework of Constitution” and that being a farmer, he was “equally familiar with farm sector and farmers’ issues”.
The opposition has admitted to being taken by surprise by the announcement of Mr. Kovind’s name as no particular name had been put forward by the BJP committee.
Mr. Naidu however pointed out that “in the past, Shri Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was elected as President unanimously and there was an understanding among all the major parties in the election of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam as well”.
“The BJP reached out to opposition parties in the past during the time of election of Dr.Kalam and again did so this time as well,” he added.