New Delhi: NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind today sought to reach out to the opposition by asserting that the president’s office was above party politics and that he did not belong to a party.
“Since I became the governor I do not belong to any political party,” the 71-year-old former head of the BJP’s Dalit Morcha — almost certain to be the next president — said after filing his nomination here for the post.
Kovind was accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief ministers of NDA-ruled states as well as of Telangana and Tamil Nadu, union ministers and other senior leaders of the ruling bloc.
“It is my belief that the post of the president is above party politics and I will strive to keep it so,” he said in a brief address to the media.
The former Rajya Sabha MP said he would do “everything possible” to maintain the dignity of the highest office.
“I appeal to all members of the electoral college for support,” Kovind said.
He named several former presidents to cite the “great traditions” of the office and stressed the Constitution was supreme in the country.
“That its supremacy is maintained is very important,” he added.
Underlining his agenda, he said he would work for the country’s “all-round development, fulfilment of youths’ aspirations and encouragement to modern education”.
“I will strive to see to it that the dream to build a new India which is developing continuously when we celebrate 75 years of independence in 2022 is fulfilled,” he said, reading out from a prepared text.
In a reference to the country’s security, he noted that the president was the supreme commander of the armed forces.
“The security of our country’s borders should be our top priority,” he said.
India is the “largest and greatest” democracy, he said as he thanked parties that had supported his candidature.
With more than 60 per cent of the members of the president’s electoral college backing Kovind, his election as the next president is virtually certain. Opposition parties have fielded Meira Kumar, also a Dalit leader, against him.