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Ram Nath Kovind named NDA's Presidential candidate

Ram Nath Kovind named NDA's Presidential candidate

"The Hon'ble PM spoke to me to inform about the candidature of Ram Nath Kovind as Presidential nominee". I will meet leaders of major political parties and seek their support...

The NDA is short of majority by barely 20,000 votes but with several non-NDA parties pledging their support to its candidate, the ruling block now enjoys a comfortable majority.

Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, NDA's presidential candidate, greets the media as he leaves for Delhi, at Raj Bhavan in Patna on Monday.

In a surprise move, the BJP announced that the low-profile Kovind was the National Democratic Alliance's presidential candidate for the July 17 poll. "But it is their will, they are free to take a one-sided unilateral decision", Azad added.

"So, we said the opposition will meet and take a decision on June 22. The final call will be taken in a meeting of all opposition parties on June 22", he said.

"The Congress party doesn't want to comment on the name of the candidate announced by the NDA government".

"So far as the NDA nominee is concerned, the Congress has nothing to say on the merits or demerits".

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His announcement came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Patnaik over telephone this evening.

"I am sure Shri Ram Nath Kovind will make an exceptional President and continue to be a strong voice for the poor, downtrodden and marginalised", the Prime Minister tweeted.

Besides Naidu, Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley were the other members of the committee. This will breach Opposition unity to a great extent though Congress, Left parties, TMC and RJD, among a few others, will not let him the unanimous choice. "A meeting will be held soon to discuss the same", he said. "That is why Thackeray has expressed the party's position in such terms that it does not look too happy with the BJP choice, nor appears anti-Dalit", the Sena leader said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury said Kovind "was chief of the RSS's Dalit branch" and "somewhere it was a political fight or contest". "Someone of the stature of Pranab Mukherjee or even Sushma Swaraj or (L K) Advaniji may have been made the candidate". Can they afford to oppose the candidature of a Dalit candidate? "As he is a Dalit we are positive on his nomination", Mayawati was quoted as saying by ANI.

He once headed the BJP's Dalit wing.

A critical chink in the opposition ranks was reflected in Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar's statement.

"This is not the final decision.I can not say much in this matter as we have an all-political party meeting on June 22. So, she is opposing because this candidate happens to be a RSS man", he told news agency ANI. He sought the support of the BJD in this regard.


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