Nitish set to flex muscles to be UPA's PM Candidate

"When power was in their (Congress) hands during the 10 years of UPA rule, in which Lalu Prasad was a part, why did they not remember the "Bihar ki Beti" (Meira Kumar) then", Paswan, the LJP president and a prominent dalit leader, said.

The RJD strongman, whose party along with the Congress is in a coalition government with Nitish Kumar's JD-U in Bihar, said while he would request Kumar to reconsider the matter, there would be no threat to the state government, which would continue despite the JD-U's decision.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday made it abundantly clear that his party will not change its stand on supporting RSS candidate for the President's post. Various other opposition parties, which were nearly sidelined by the NDA-led BJP Government as it announced Ram Nath Kovind as their presidential candidate.

She also thanked the 17 opposition parties for supporting her candidature and said she is delighted by the opposition unity that represents the coming together of forces which have a strong ideological base.

Kumar, a five-time MP, was a career diplomat who entered politics in 1985 and became India s first woman speaker in 2009 - a tough job in the country s often volatile and raucous parliament. But all others favored Meira Kumar's candidature, media sources said. She also expressed her gratitude to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and leaders of 17 political parties for their decision to nominate her. She was chosen after a party meeting that included 17 opposition parties.

Kumar said the post embodied the diversity of India's socio-political culture and the vision of its "composite ideology".

The Opposition - Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI), and other parties - chose to meet on Thursday to discuss the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) decision on Presidential nominee Ramnath Kovind.

BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra said: "Mayawatiji had said that if the opposition proposes a better Dalit candidate (than Kovind), we would support that candidate". Nitish Kumar who had virtually left the Opposition in the lurch, had justified his support for Kovind by saying that he had to support the Bihar Governor who had been supportive of his government through out his tenure.

The security cover of the opposition's presidential nominee Meira Kumar has been upgraded to the top most 'Z+' category, under which she will have round-the-clock protection of armed security personnel.

Now that Nitish's party has chose to support Kovind, it is safe to assume that the ruling alliance in Bihar might crumble earlier than expected.

"We are anxious over Nitish Kumar's support to the BJP's Presidential candidate", said senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.

There was anticipation that Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party too would support Kovind, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, with SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati hinting at supporting the former Bihar governor. Clearly now she is seeing backing Meira Kumar.

Earlier, Yechury had put forward the name of Prakash Ambedkar, but few among the leaders seconded him.

  • Leroy Wright