Dalit leader Ram Nath Kovind's run from court to Raisina Hills

BJP picks Bihar governor Ram Nath Kovind as its presidential candidate

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information and Broadcasting in the Modi minister Venkaiah Naidu have also arrived at the party Head Quarters in the capital. BJP President Amit Shah said after the meeting that Kovind would be the NDA candidate.

He was a Central Government Advocate in the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and Central Government Standing Counsel in Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993.

No names have been discussed yet for the post of the vice-president, Shah said. He became Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978 and practiced in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court for about 16 years till 1993.

He is Bcom and LLB by qualification from Kanpur University (Uttar Pradesh).

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In the midst of an upsurge in caste-related unrest, the BJP was only paying "lip service" to underprivileged groups by appointing a Dalit as its presidential candidate, according to Paul Divakar, the general secretary of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights.

As a lawyer, Kovind took a leading role in providing free legal aid to the weaker sections of society, especially SC/ST women, needy and the poor under the aegis of "Free Legal Aid Society" in Delhi.

To win over the opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has personally spoken to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and his predecessor, Dr Manmohan Singh, as also to the Chief Ministers of Bihar, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

He is a former leader of the BJP's Dalit wing and was a member of the Rajya Sabha for 12 years. Meanwhile, BJP party president Amit Shah on Sunday met Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai to come to a consensus for the candidate who seems to be in no mood to alter his aggressive stance on the issue of the Presidential polls. Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao, Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswamy have already given their support to Kovind for his candidature. He served as Member on various important Parliamentary Committees. Kovind has also represented India at the United Nations. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.

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