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Shiv Sena non-committal on BJP Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind

Shiv Sena non-committal on BJP Presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind

Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was part of the three-member panel formed to hold discussions and build a consensus on a presidential candidate, said the suggestions of opposition parties played a role in the NDA picking Kovind.

Mayawati, in her remarks to the media, said: "We are not against Kovind's nomination. We hope he will be the unanimous candidate for the election", Shah said.

Kovind before leaving for New Delhi yesterday met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and thanked the people of Bihar for their support.

"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", he told reporters in Patna after paying a courtesy call to Kovind at the Raj Bhawan.

Thackeray maintained his earlier stance and said he would call a meeting of the Shiv Sena to discuss the issue before taking a final decision.

Kovind, two-term BJP Rajya Sabha member, is seen as an astute choice by the saffron party, which has been targeted by opposition parties over Dalit issues, and his election is nearly a certainty as the ruling bloc with the support of some regional parties enjoys a majority in the electoral college.

For the past two presidential elections, the Sena has broken away with the NDA and backed Congress nominees Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee. By proposing Kovind's name the party is trying to woo Dalit voters ahead of crucial polls. Voting for the presidential election is scheduled on July 17, while the counting will take place on July 20, four days before Mukherjee's term ends.




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

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed surprise over the name and said that "in order to support someone, we must know the person".

"The office of President is a key post". BJP also is keen to shed its pro-Hindutva image and counter parties like BSP, JD (U), CPI, CPM and RJP who always allege the party as anti-Dalit.

"They did not come back to the opposition and announced the candidate", he said.

The Congress, however, spurned the BJPs appeal for consensus on its choice and said the opposition would take a call on contesting the election after a meeting on June 22.

Meanwhile, BJP celebrated the candidature of Kovind as presidential candidate at the state headquarters here with workers and activists distributing candies amid drum beats and bursting of crackers.


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