The build-up to the prestige battle in Bihar intensified on Saturday when the BJP-led NDA government appointed a new governor for the state.
The appointment of 69-year-old Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit BJP leader and former Rajya Sabha member, was seen as a well-calculated move by the BJP leadership ahead of the Bihar Assembly election, considered by many as a knock-out bout between two old foes, Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar. Kovind, who served as a Rajya Sabha MP between 1994 and 2006, could be a key player in the post-poll scenario in the state where ‘certainty’ is the least preferred term at the moment, in terms of the upcoming electoral battle.
The appointment of Kovind, a lawyer by profession and a former chief of the BJP Dalit Morcha, could also send a signal to the Dalit community, which is being wooed by the saffron party in its effort to corner Kumar. Along with Kovind, President Pranab Mukherjee also issued the appointment order of 56-year-old educationist Acharya Dev Vrat as the governor of Himachal Pradesh. Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh was looking after Himachal Pradesh so far.
Vrat, a close aide to Yoga guru Ramdev, has been serving as the principal of Gurukul Kurukshetra institution in Haryana since 1981 and is known to have a strong knowledge of Vedic culture.
Vrat became close to Modi when he was the BJP’s in-charge for Haryana in the 1990s.