Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA candidate for President of India, enjoys the reputation of someone who always stays away from controversy and is popular across party lines. He has a good rapport with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad has never spoken against him, publicly. Though the JD(U) has not yet announced its support for Kovind’s candidature, sources said the party would in all probability support him.
The only time the JD(U) had any problems with Kovind was when the BJP had tried to play politics with his Dalit background during the 2015 election campaign, soon after his appointment to Raj Bhavan. Since then, the Grand Alliance government has not questioned his conduct as Bihar’s Governor.
Whether it was giving his assent to Nitish Kumar’s controversial liquor law criticised by the BJP for some of its draconian provisions or the appointment of vice chancellors and pro VCs, Kovind has always found a way to avoid confrontation with the state government. He seems to be of the opinion that such issues are best left to the courts.
The BJP could have scored political points had the governor raised objections to some of the provisions in the liquor ban such as a community fine, holding all adults of a household responsible if any member is found drinking or possessing liquor and the confiscation and auction of property of an accused. However, Governor Kovind did not go down that route; instead he gave a go-ahead to the law.
His non-controversial tenure has been appreciated all the more given tiffs between Raj Bhavan and the government over appointments of VCs during tenure of former governor Debanand Konwar not too long ago. A BJP leader called Kovind “an erudite Dalit leader who has an aura around him and is a liberal face of the BJP”.
The JD(U) will wait till 22 June when the Opposition will meet to discuss Kovind’s candidature. It will not come as a surprise if the JD(U) goes ahead and supports Kovind, the way it had supported Pranab Mukherjee when the JD(U) was still been a part of the NDA.