Sena announces support to Kovind

"(BJP President) Amit Shah informed me on Sunday that in view of Swaminathan's advanced age (he will turn 92 in August) and frail health, it was not possible to propose his name", Thackeray said.

A former NDA ally, Biju Janata Dal - has also backed Kovind's candidature. Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray said he is not willing to support Kovind if making a Dalit the President is being done with the objective of "gaining a vote bank".

With support from the OPS camp, the NDA will get votes of 12 MLAs and 12 MPs from the AIADMK.

Congress senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said the party will only support that candidate who doesn't follow the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) ideology, however, added that Kovind did not owe his allegiance to saffron party's ideology. The 17 Opposition parties that met on Thursday have made an appeal to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to support Meira Kumar's candidature.

He said they believe that there should be no politics on caste lines. "Our support or opposition is not for a particular person, but on the BJP ideologies".

The election of the lawyer-turned politician as the 14th president in any case is a virtual certainty because of assurance of support by some non-NDA regional parties.

CPI leader D. Raja acknowledged that the JD-U move, if correct, was a setback to the opposition.

"It is the decision of all the leaders of the party. As the party has chose to support Kovind, there is no need for it to attend the meeting of opposition parties being held in New delhi", said JD-U spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan.

The JD (U) national spokesperson asked the NDA to refrain from nursing any illusion about his party going back to the ruling alliance at the Centre and charged the Narendra Modi government with failing on all fronts.

The names of Meira Kumar, the former Lok Sabha speaker; Sushil Kumar Shinde, the former union home minister of Congress and of Prakash Yashwant Ambedkar, B.R. Ambedkar's grandson and leader of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, are learnt to be among those which have been suggested.

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad said his party will go with other Opposition parties in their choice for a presidential candidate.

  • Leroy Wright