Kovind's candidature will be fought politically: Pinarayi

Kozhikode: State president of Janata Dal (United) and Rajya Sabha member M P Veerendrakumar said that his party would not vote for the BJP's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind. 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.

The chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana are expected to be present when NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind files his nomination papers on Friday.

The sources reiterated that since the BJP has named Kovind, a Dalit leader, the Opposition may also zero in on a candidate from the same community.

Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), with its large support base among the Dalits, has already announced its support to Kovind.

Shiv Sena and the People's Democratic Party, both NDA constituents, too, have pledged support to Kovind.

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. "But wherever we don't agree with the BJP, we will oppose them", the Sena leader said.

Unwilling to support a candidate with an RSS background, the Left parties have shared their own list of candidates with Congress, and the final decision will be taken at an opposition meet on June 22.

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 chose to support him", Panneerselvam added.

Yesterday, the AIADMK (Amma), led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami, had announced its support to Ram Nath Kovind's candidature.

Palaniswami said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought support for Kovind over telephone and the decision was taken after consulting party legislators and ministers.

A lawyer by profession, Kovind had also been BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha chief (1998-2002) and president of the All-India Koli Samaj.

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

"Let us see what comes out of the meeting", he added.

President Pranab Mukherjee's term ends on July 24.

  • Leroy Wright