JDU to extend support to NDA choice Ram Nath Kovind in presidential election
Bihar's ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has decided to back NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind in the Presidential election, JD-U legislator Ratnesh Sada said on Wednesday.
Sada, who represents Sonbarsha constituency in the state assembly, told IANS on telephone: "The party has decided to support Kovind. The decision was taken at a meeting of our legislators."
Nitish Kumar told his MLAs that Kovind, who was the Bihar Governor before he was picked by the Bharatiya Janata Party for the top post, was "a good man", Sada said.
Coming out of the party's core committee meeting chaired by Nitish Kumar, Sada said most of the MLAs have assured the Chief Minister of their support.
However, a formal announcement was awaited later on Wednesday or Thursday as the party would continue with the legislators meeting.
Sada said that the legislators have unanimously left the final decision to Nitish Kumar.
Earlier, Nitish stopped short of confirming his support to the former Bihar Governor. After meeting him at the Raj Bhavan on Monday, Nitish told reporters: "In my capacity as the Bihar Chief Minister, it is a matter of happiness that our Governor has been declared as the candidate for the next President of India."
BSP supremo Mayawati also did not explicitly oppose Kovind's selection. "The BSP's stand cannot be negative towards a Dalit nominee for the post of President. Our stand will be positive provided the Opposition does not field any Dalit for the top post," she said.
The Opposition parties will be meeting at the Parliament library on June 22 at around 4.30 pm to deliberate on Kovind's candidature and, possibly, pick a consensus candidate. Election for the country's top post will only be necessitated if the Opposition decides to field a candidate of their choice. On Tuesday, CPI leader D Raja told news channel NDTV that they are averse to nominating Dalit leaders Meira Kumar or Sushil Kumar Shinde. He, however, maintained that the Left is waiting for the Congress to decide on the issue. It is a battle of ideologies, we will field a candidate, Raja was quoted as saying.
With President Pranab Mukherjee's term ending on July 24, the presidential election will be held on July 17 and the results will be declared on July 28.