Ram Nath Kovind resigns as Bihar governor

Nitish Kumar, who had praised Ram Nath Kovind as an "ideal governor", on Wednesday urged his MLAs to support his candidature for the President's post.

However, sources said Thursday that none of the 24 people is backed by political parties, including the country's main opposition Congress party, and they have all filed their nominations to contest the presidential poll as independent candidates. Kumar on Monday had sung paean to Kovind, who was the Bihar Governor before the BJP named him as the Presidential candidate.

An "opportunity" has been provided for a member of the Dalit community to be elected to the President's office, and "for providing that opportunity (to Kovind), we have made a decision to support him", Panneerselvam added. "I will abide by her decision on presidential polls", he said.

"BJP national president Amit Shah has discussed the matter with AGP and BPF prior to the announcement of the name of NDA's presidential nominee".

The senior Congress leader was in Patna to participate in the iftar hosted by his state party unit.

Kumar said on Tuesday that he has called a meeting of the party's leader to finalize on the choice of Kovind.

It remains to be seen how the JD-U, BSP and Samajwadi Party, with a total vote value of over 5 per cent, vote.

"But, JD (U) and its national president Nitish Kumar will continue to make his efforts for the opposition's unity".

Kumar has conveyed his "observations" to both Congress President Sonia Gandhi and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.

He announced his decision even as the Central leadership of his party backed Mr. Kovind's candidature.

It remains to be seen whether BSP, which has also said that it can not oppose a Dalit candidate unless the opposition has a more popular Dalit nominee, attends the opposition meeting. Votes in the presidential elections will be counted on July 20, three days after voting. He was the president of BJP Dalit Morcha between 1998 and 2002 and president of All-India Koli Samaj. Among the candidates the Left is looking at is Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of the iconic B.R. Ambedkar.

  • Leroy Wright