Presidential poll: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik backs NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind

Presidential poll: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik backs NDA candidate Ram Nath Kovind

If elected, he will be the second Indian president after KR Narayanan to hail from the Dalit community.

“There are other big Dalit leaders in India.He (Kovind) was leader of Dalit Morcha of BJP, so they have made him candidate”, she said.

“Ram Nath comes from a Dalit family and has struggled a lot”. He has always been associated with the poor, backwards and Dalits… The Left parties, which object to Kovind’s Sangh Parivar moorings, said the Opposition will field a candidate after Thursday’s meeting.

Banerjee said she is would be waiting for the all-party political meeting on June 22 before taking a final call. With his illustrious background in the legal arena, Shri Kovind’s knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation.

The BJP had taken a “unilateral decision”, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said soon after the announcement.

Kumar’s position on the matter may not just affect the presidential election but could also have a great bearing on the next Lok Sabha election as Opposition parties hope that they can stitch together a grand secular alliance to take on the BJP in 2019. The rumour mills had put BJP veterans L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu as amongst the probables for president.

“They informed us of their choice only after announcing their decision. They did inform us but only after they had decided on the name”, he said and termed the outreach by the BJP as a “formality”. “I did”, he said sarcastically.

Bhubaneswar: BJD to extend support to NDA’s Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind declares Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik.

The BJP’s taciturn ally Shiv Sena has kept a card up in its sleeve on the issue, saying Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will convene a meeting of party leaders to decide on supporting Kovind.

Kovind, now serving as Bihar Governor, has said that he will meet leaders of major political parties and seek their support to emerge as a “consensus candidate” for the coveted post.

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the BJP “unilaterally” selected Kovind and the non-NDA parties will take the decision “keeping in mind the country’s history that the ruling and opposition parties contested the polls on all occasion except once”. YSRCP, an opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, has already offered its support. The ruling TRS in Telangana has also supported Kovind’s nomination. The total strength of the electoral college is 10,98,903. They should be able to count on enough support from other parties to secure a majority, say BJP officials.