The ruling BJP on Monday said that Ram Nath Kovind will be their candidate for the next President of India. The opposition has clearly said that he will not be a consensus candidate. This would mean an election would be held on July 17 as the opposition gets ready to field its own candidate.
Many in the opposition are in a fix as the BJP announced a Dalit candidate. The opposition is now considering the names of Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar and former speaker Meira Kumar.
After Kovind's name was announced, both Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik said that they would support his candidature. If both the BJD and the JD(U) vote in favour of Kovind, then it would be impossible for the opposition to put up a fight.
Many in the opposition feel that they should go ahead with the candidature of Prakash Ambedkar instead of Meira Kumar.
The opposition hopes that if they announce the name of Prakash, then the likes of Nitish Kumar and Patnaik would vote in their favour. Moreover it could also leave the Shiv Sena in a fix which has a tradition of voting for Presidential candidates from Maharashtra. When Prathibha Patil was chosen as the UPA's candidate, the Sena dumped the BJP and voted for her.
The chief of the Shiv Sena, Udhav Thackerey has not given away too much after the BJP chose Kovind. He said that the candidate should not be chosen for the sake of a vote bank. It would be interesting to see what the Shiv Sena would do if the opposition does go ahead with the candidature of Prakash who hails from Maharashtra.
If the name of Prakash goes through, then the opposition could also expect the BSP to vote in favour of him. Mayawati had said that she extended support to the candidature of Kovind. She however added that she would only vote against him if the opposition announced a popular Dalit candidate.
Who is Prakash Ambedkar:
Born on May 10 1954, Prakash is the grandson of Dr. B R Ambedkar. He is the leader of a local political party called the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh. He was a member of the 13th Lok Sabha.
He has represented the Lok Sabha twice from the Akola constituency in Maharashtra. He has also served in the Rajya Sabha. His younger brother Anandraj Ambedkar is also a politician.