AIADMK faction led by Panneerselvam to support Kovind

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will be the proposers for NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind when he files his nomination for President on Friday.

A final call on the anti-Kovind candidate will be taken at a meeting of the opposition front on June 22, Raja said.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has broken ranks with the opposition to pledge support to Mr Kovind, who he has described as an ideal candidate for Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami had yesterday announced the factions support to Kovind, who has since resigned as Governor of Bihar. "We are very happy with this, it is the matter of Bihar's development", Senior JD (U) leader Ratnesh Sada said after meeting all the party leaders here.

CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said a "secular" candidate is the need of the hour for the president's post and that opposition parties would "certainly" field a nominee.

It remains to be seen whether the Bahujan Samaj Party, which has also said that it can not oppose a Dalit candidate unless the opposition has a more popular Dalit nominee, will attend the opposition meeting. While Gowda would not attend the meeting at Delhi today, he has made a decision to send the party's spokesperson, Danish Ali.

While Pannerselvam's preference for the NDA's was always on the cards, developments within the national opposition indicated growing support for Kovind ahead of a meeting today to discuss the possibility of fielding a rival candidate.

"If someone is trying to make a Dalit a President with the objective of gaining a vote bank then we are not with them, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said".

With the Shiv Sena joining other NDA allies in backing Kovind and Odisha's ruling BJD, YSR Congress and TRS too extending support, the 71-year-old Dalit leader is expected to have a smooth sailing in the event of an election.

The presidential election is slated for July 17 and the results are to be declared on July 20.

The party had supported the UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee in the 2012 presidential polls against the NDA's PA Sangma.

  • Arturo Norris