NEW DELHI, June 19 (Xinhua) -- India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday named the eastern state of Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its choice for the country's next President.
The incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee's five-year tenure expires in July-end.
The name of Kovind, a 71-year-old Dalit (lower caste) politician, was announced by BJP President Amit Shah after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with party lawmakers in the national capital Monday morning and discussed the names of the possible presidential candidates.
"Ram Nath Kovind is the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) choice for the country's next President. Apart from being a top lawyer, he's a two-time member of the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). He is our consensus candidate," Shah told the media.
"Modiji has spoken to the country's opposition Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and apprised them of the BJP's choice," he added.
Sources said that the Congress chief has not immediately extended her party's support for the BJP's presidential candidate during her telephone conversation with Modi, but said she would get back to him after consultation with her party colleagues.
If the Congress and other opposition parties support BJP's candidate, then there would be no presidential poll; otherwise an election will take place in case they put up a rival candidate.
The President is the ceremonial head-of-state and elected by parliamentarians and lawmakers of state legislative assemblies.