Shiv Sena backs Ram Nath Kovind as President

NDA has 48.9% of Electoral Collage Vote in the President Election. Mukherjee completes his five-year term on July 24. In 2007, it backed Pratibha Patil instead of NDA candidate Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad declined to go into the merits and demerits of Kovind and did not say whether or not the opposition will field a candidate. BJP MLAs Shivratan Sharma, Santosh Bafna, Vidya Ratan Bhasin, Srichand Sundrani, Khilawan Sahu, Naveen Markandey and other MLAs reached New Delhi and signed on the nomination form as proposers and seconders for NDA candidate for President of India Ram Nath Kovind. "After our support, I do not think it will be hard for the BJP to get him elected", Mr Thackeray told reporters at his residence "Matoshree" in suburban Bandra this evening. "Officials said the 'black cat" commandos force will secure Kovind, who resigned today as the Bihar Governor.

The oldest and most prominent ally of the BJP, Thackeray told Shah on Sunday that his party would take a decision only after the BJP's Presidential nominee was named. "They did inform us but only after they had decided on the name", he said and termed the outreach by the BJP as a "formality". "If the name of Kovind is being put forward with a view to garner Dalit votes, then the Sena is not interested", he had said on Monday. RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and father of India's green revolution M S Swaminathan were Shiv Sena's choices for the Presidential post. Samajwadi Party, BSP, and JDU have also hinted that they may support Mr. Ram Nath Kovind for President. They have suggested a good name. "But time has passed now and I will not change my decision".

Patil defeated NDA candidate and Vice President B.S. Shekhawat.

Led by the Congress Party, the opposition will meet on Thursday to decide whether to back Kovind as a consensus candidate or to choose another contender as their workhorse, although with little success.

CM Kumar himself had pitched strongly for unity among the Opposition, however, seems to be wavering on the nomination of Kovind, who is a Mahadalit and governor of the same state where Kumar is Chief Minister. But he also assured that his party would remain with the BJP in these elections.

On Monday, Thackeray had accused the BJP of indulging in "vote bank politics" by proposing a Dalit for the president's office.

He met Om Prakash Chautala of INLD also, sources said. "Yes, we are certainly going to have a candidate".

If elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit President after K.R. Narayanan. "Our objection is not individually for him".

The Opposition had said they would announce their candidates only after the ruling party had picked theirs.

  • Leroy Wright