No party affiliations, will uphold dignity of office: Kovind

New Delhi, (IANS): Asserting that he does not hold any political affiliations, NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind on Friday pledged to uphold the dignity of the President’s office and keep it above party politics.

“From the day I became the Governor of Bihar, I had no party affiliation,” Kovind asserted after filing his nomination for the July 17 election.

Support TwoCircles

Kovind, 71, filed the papers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Chief Ministers of states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies, as well as parties backing him.

“The President’s post carries a lot of dignity. My effort will be to keep the post above party politics. I promise I will do everything possible to uphold the dignity of this office. The Constitution is supreme and it is our duty to maintain its supremacy,” Kovind said.

The former Bihar Governor and BJP’s Dalit leader said the President was the supreme commander of the armed forces. “It is our priority to secure the borders of our country.”

He said India is the largest democracy in the world, where the post of President is “most august”.

“Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, and Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam are among those who held this position earlier. The country and the whole world is familiar with this great tradition,” he said.

Kovind said he would do his best for the country’s all-round development, fulfilment of youths’ aspirations and encouragement to modern education.

“At a time when we would be celebrating 75 years of independence after a few years, I will strive to see that the dream to build a new India, which is developing continuously, is fulfilled,” the BJP leader said.

Kovind thanked Modi, and National Democratic Alliance Chief Ministers and others for supporting his candidature.

Kovind is widely expected to sail through the presidential election, although a contest is imminent as the opposition parties have fielded former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as their nominee.

The NDA, including the Shiv Sena and the Peoples Democratic Party of Jammu and Kashmir, commands the support of 48.93 per cent voters in the presidential electoral college made up of MPs and MLAs.

With the backing of parties outside the alliance like TRS (2 per cent), AIADMK (5.39 per cent), YSR Congress (1.53 per cent) and Biju Janata Dal (2.99 per cent), the NDA’s support will reach nearly 63 per cent. The Janata Dal-United (1.91 per cent) is also backing him.

The vote count will take place on July 20. President Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends on July 24.