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BJD extends support to Prez nominee
20 June 2017, 11:19 | Terri Saunders
President Kovind? Opposition to decide on June 22; TMC prefers Sushma, Advani
It is highly unlikely that any Opposition candidate would be able to gather enough support to defeat Kovind as BJP is only a little shy of reaching the 50 per cent of total electoral college. "There are other big Dalit leaders in the country", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee said.
The earlier names which were doing the rounds for presidency included external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan. While stressing on the importance of waiting for the Opposition meet on 22 June, Jha said it must be highlighted that "in the prevailing situation, we desperately need a person who should protect the values enshrined in the Constitution".
Opposition parties have sought to keep up the suspense on extending their support and may even put up a joint candidate.
"If anybody had reservations about Bhagwat, then we suggested Swaminathan for the benefit of the farmers of the country".
He added: "The Opposition was given to understand that they will be taken into confidence".
Most of the presidential candidates up till now have been renowned faces right from Abdul Kalam to Pranab Mukherjee to K.R Narayanan. It has announced its presidential candidate.
This time round, the Sena stance on Kovind's candidature would be considered crucial as it is a partner both at the centre and in Maharashtra.
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The BJP on Monday caught the Opposition napping by announcing the candidature of the low-profile Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit from the politically critical Uttar Pradesh, for the post of President.
As of now, the BJP-led NDA has 48.1% of the votes, and the opposition has 51.90%.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar hailed Kovind's role as state Governor but remained non-committal on supporting him. However, she stopped short of expressing support for Kovind and said her party would be "positive" provided the opposition did not field any Dalit.
"They (BJP) took a decision unilaterally, but it is up to them".
"So far as the NDA nominee is concerned, the Congress has nothing to say on the merits or demerits". "They informed us after announcing this decision so there is no scope for consensus now..."
Modi said that as President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President & continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden & marginalised. "A meeting will be held soon to discuss the same", he said. BJP chief Amit Shah hurled some harsh truths at Uddhav when the two met at Matoshree on Sunday. Just because he was the leader of Dalit Morcha of BJP, they have made him the candidate. But as per the norms of post-independence Indian politics, in which social justice is given the highest consideration, Dalits are given the highest consideration. "This is not a very mature decision", she said.
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