The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance on Monday declared Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections.
BJP president Amit Shah made the announcement at a press conference this afternoon.
Kovind, 71, is a Dalit leader and an experienced political hand. His candidature was unexpected given that several other names including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu were doing the rounds in the recent weeks.
Shah did not say whether the candidate is a consensus candidate. He said NDA allies were 'informed' of the decision.
The BJP President also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally spoke to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and conveyed to them the NDA's choice.
Shah's press conference came after the BJP Parliamentary Board, the party's highest decision making body, met to take a decision on its presidential nominee.
The Board members were apprised about the consultation undertaken by a three-member party committee with allies and opposition parties.
The committee members include union ministers Rajnath Singh, M Venkaiah Naidu and Arun Jaitley, who are also the members of the Board.
More to follow...