The Presidential Checkmate
In what could be termed as a masterstroke, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party announced Shri Ramnath Kovind, the incumbent Governor of Bihar as their candidate for the highest constitutional position of the country, the President.
“He hails from a Dalit family of farmers and has come to this position after facing a lot of struggles. We are sure that he will send a positive signal to the people across the country”, said Amit Shah, the BJP head, in the press conference announcing his candidature.
Ramnath Kovind is a lawyer by profession and an RSS loyalist. He had been a member of the Rajya Sabha twice before and also a practicing advocate in the Supreme Court.
Now why this could sound the death knell for the opposition is because it would practically be difficult for them to announce a candidate at par with Shri.Kovind.
With leaders like Mayawati and Nitish Kumar expressing their solidarity and support to Shri Kovind, it is now a lost cause for the opposition to think of any other person.
Shri Kovind is known for his hard work and his work towards the upliftment of the Dalit community in north India. He is also said to have taken up the cases of SC/ST women, without charging any fee for the work. Him being from the Dalit community, which was emphasised in the press conference, is aimed at appeasing the community in the run-up to the polls of 2019.
This move is also seen as the end for the burning political ambitions of senior BJP leaders like LK Advani and MM Joshi, who have been embroiled in the controversy of Babri Masjid.
While this might seem like a move to appease the Dalit community, to consolidate their votes, this is also a welcome move, to be honest. The position of the President of India is one of dignity and influential. Only someone with a proven track record of groundwork could do justice to the prestige and honour associated with the chair. Given that Shri Ramnath Kovind is known for his impartial nature ( tiffs between the CM and the Governor in Bihar are non-existent with the CM himself calling Kovind to be impartial) and he has done a lot for the upliftment of the Dalit women, there could not have been a better choice as far as the BJP is concerned. His caste and RSS loyalty would only be worthwhile add-ons to the already glittery ensemble. If this move would pay off in the long run or not with regards to the polls is something that is to be seen.
For now, it looks like the BJP has gotten its moves right and if things unfold as anticipated, then this would be the checkmate.