NDA gets boost as Sena backs Kovind, opposition braces for contest

A day after being picked as the NDA nominee for the presidential election, Ram Nath Kovind resigned as Bihar Governor on Tuesday. West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi was given additional charge of Bihar.

Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav today backed NDA Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

Briefing media persons, Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray said that his party has chose to support Kovind's candidature and all the lawmakers will vote for him in upcoming elections. Addresing the media, Thackeray said that while Shiv Sena endorses Kovind, it does not want any kind of politics on it.

However, he has reportedly said that he would come out clear after attending the coordination committee meeting of the Opposition parties on June 22.

The final decision on Kovind's nomination, however, will be taken as opposition parties are expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter. K R Narayanan was the country's first Dalit president. As soon as he got a call from the PM seeking his support for Ram Nath Kovind, he immediately said "yes", said Mishra.

Now, arithmetically, the NDA (including the Shiv Sena) is said to have close to 5.37 lakh votes in the Electoral College and does not enjoy a majority in spite of its strength in the Lok Sabha and the recent victory in Uttar Pradesh.

The sources also said that before the ruling party announced Kovind's name, the opposition parties had thought of fielding a tribal candidate after reports that the NDA would field Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu, a tribal leader. The BSP leader added that her party's stand can not be negative towards Kovind since he is a Dalit despite his association with the RSS and the BJP from the beginning.

The Left leadership is keen on putting up a symbolic fight for the July 17 polls on ideological differences with BJP, but the dalit NDA face has put Congress in a fix. "This is how we look at it", CPI National Secretary D. Raja said. "We had proposed two names as the presidential nominee".

JD (U) - The Janata Dal (United), a rival of the BJP in Bihar, has not indicated where its support lies. Shah, along with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, visited Thackeray's residence on Sunday and held a close-door meeting with the Shiv Sena chief.

  • Leroy Wright