Pinarayi Vijayan : Ram Nath Kovind's candidature will be fought politically

Once elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit to occupy the highest constitutional office. She was the first woman speaker of Lok Sabha and also has been a Union Minister.

On Wednesday, JD (U)'s core committee chaired by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar will meet in Patna to discuss party's stand on Kovind. "Whoever would be the protector of the Constitution should be above caste and religion", he said adding that his party would attend the opposition's meeting on Thursday. We were expecting a person like former President late A P J Abdul Kalam or even former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who were neutral and always tried for a consensus between the ruling party and the opposition.

Nitish said that it would be too early to comment on support to Ram Nath because discussion among Opposition leaders is yet to be held. "I am bound to pay my respect to him (Kovind) after declaration of his candidature for the post of the President India", the chief minister had said. "We fully support Kovind".

After the Janata Dal-U's decision to support the NDA's presidential nominee, the Congress stepped up efforts to keep the opposition united. "Having been born in a poor family with a Dalit background, he struggled in life and today, the BJP parliamentary party has chose to make him the presidential candidate", Shah said.

So Kovind symbolises the BJP's endeavour to espouse the cause of the downtrodden in a year dedicated to the party's ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay and his Antyodaya (upliftment of the last in the line) philosophy. CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury put forward the names of Gopalkrishna Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of B R Ambedkar. This move might have made the opposition dumbstruck as they will find it challenging to oppose a Dalit leader.

Sources in AGP and BPF said there is no rift between the two key allies, with whom the BJP is continuing its coalition despite having differences on certain crucial issues pertaining to the interests of the two regional parties.

"The (support) decision was taken unanimously by party leaders".

  • Leroy Wright