Nitish Kumar And Lalu Yadav Divided Over BJP Choice For President

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee didn't seem happy with the Kovind's candidature.

Joining the critics of NDA's Presidential nominee, Shiv Sena said it would not extend its support if the Centre is eyeing a vote bank by nominating a Dalit face for the upcoming President polls.

Asked whether BJD supported the NDA candidate out of any pressure, party spokesman dismissed it and said "We continue to maintain equal distance from both BJP and Congress".

The NDA's Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind on Monday expressed the hope that all political parties will back his nomination in the July 17 election.

Kovind, who is now the governor of Bihar, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi here later today.

"Ram Nath Kovind has always fought for the betterment of the Dalits and other backward castes", BJP chief Amit Shah said at a press conference to announce the party's candidate. "We are also of the opinion that it would have been better if NDA had named a non-political Dalit person as President nominee".

"I wholeheartedly support the NDA's choice for the President's post in Kovind".

Modi has clearly set his eyes on 2019 in describing Kovind's nomination as empowering a Dalit farmer's son who will be a voice for the poor and downtrodden.

The BSP said they are "positive" on Kovind's name and added that it would support the Opposition only if it fields a Dalit candidate. However a decision in this regard will be taken only on June 22 when the 18-party opposition front led by the Congress will hold a meeting to discuss the latest development. However, even Yechury said that his party would announce its decision only after the meeting on June 22.

"The Hon'ble PM spoke to me to inform about the candidature of Ram Nath Kovind as Presidential nominee".

The surprise decision stunned the opposition which accused the ruling party of unilateralism.

"There will be a united Opposition candidate of the Left and UPA".

Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, ex-Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde; Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader and grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar, Prakash Yashwant, and retired diplomat Gopal Krishna Gandhi are some of the names the opposition parties are considering.

On extending support to Kovind, she said that it would depend upon the opposition's choice of candidate.

This is being seen as a sign that Mr. Kumar may want to support the present Bihar Governor.

Appointed as Bihar governor in 2015, Mr Kovind has remained a non-controversial figure, who headed the BJP Dalit Morcha (1998-2002), served as the party's national spokesman and was the All-India Koli Samaj's president.

  • Leroy Wright