Shiv Sena backs Kovind as NDA's presidential pick

The meeting comes in the wake of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar deciding with his party Janata Dal-United (JD-U) to support NDA Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

Palaniswami said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought support for Kovind over telephone and the decision was taken after consulting party legislators and ministers. But, he refused to comment about his support to Ram Nath for President post.

It was also not known whether the party announcement to support Kovind has the backing of Dinakaran, who is also the Deputy General Secretary of AIADMK Amma. Though he had expressed happiness that a Bihar governor was the NDA's candidate for the presidential election, he had said that a detailed discussion would be held on the matter within the party.

Meira Kumar is from Bihar and Nitish Kumar's partners, Lalu Yadav and the Congress, have urged him to reconsider his decision and support "the daughter of Bihar". Further while appealing to other parties for their support he said, "This was intent of wider consultations with opposition parties.Thank Nitish ji for his party's support". Both factions of the AIADMK are supporting Kovind's candidature in the Presidential polls.

With the BJP coming up with a Dalit name, sources said, the Opposition camp is set to meet on June 22 to decide the future course of action.

Earlier, Sena had on Monday said that it will announce its decision on Tuesday.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Mr. Thackeray said all the party legislators and MPs will support Ram Nath Kovind, nearly clearing his way to Raisina Hill.

"Ram Nath Kovind will file his nomination at Parliament House at 11.45 a.m", the Lok Sabha Secretariat said in a statement here on Thursday. "We fully support Kovind".

JD (U) has been a part of the opposition's joint initiative on the presidential elections.

When asked if Sena will back opposition parties if they announced the name of either Bhagwat or Swaminathan, Thackeray said, "I had announced names of Mohan Bhagwat and Swaminathan a week back".

The Election Commission of India has fixed July 17 as the date for polling.

  • Zachary Reyes