Kovind is NDA's pick for President

Pauline Gross
June 20, 2017

Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Tuesday announced its support for Ram Nath Kovind, the NDA picked candidate in the Presidential Elections 2017.

Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind has resigned from the gubernatorial post following his nomination as the ruling NDA's presidential candidate.

The final decision on Kovind's nomination, however, will be taken as opposition parties are expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.

With the backing of parties outside the alliance like TRS (2 per cent), AIADMK (5.39 per cent), YSR Congress (1.53 per cent) and BJD (2.99 per cent), the NDA's support would cross the half way mark comfortably to reach almost 61 per cent in the July 17 battle.

Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu insisted that all parties were consulted.

Shah said political parties had been informed of the NDA's choice.

"After holding discussions with our party leaders, we have made a decision to back the NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind". With an illustrious background in the legal arena, he said, Kovind's knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation.

K R Narayanan was the country's first Dalit president.

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Shiv Sena, a BJP ally which has played hot and cold over supporting it on the presidential candidate, said it would take a call soon.

In picking Kovind, a Dalit from UP, the BJP has put the Opposition on the backfoot, forcing the likes of the BSP and JD (U) to make a hard choice.

"It is not necessary that Sena will always oppose BJP", he said.

Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's closest adviser and top campaign strategist, played up the humble origins of Kovind, 71, who has served two terms in the upper house of parliament and is a practicing lawyer. But he was non-committal on whether his Janata Dal-United will support Kovind.

He was speaking to the media here after congratulating Kovind.

"The Centre apprised the senior leaders, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh about the announcement over phone after taking the decision. He has selected Kovind", Thackeray said.

The Opposition YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh announced its support to the NDA's Presidential candidate with its president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy affirming that his party would back a Dalit leader.

Sitaram Yechury of the CPI-M struck a different note. We suggested RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) chief Mohanji Bhagwat's name since this is a Hindu Rashtra and he would have been the ideal head of state. So somewhere it is a political fight or a contest.

Other reports by GizPress

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