Opposition forced to rethink strategy, to meet June 22

Nitish Kumar Lalu Prasad Yadav divided on extending support to Ram Nath Kovind in presidential election Report

"The final call will be taken on June 22", leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said. RJD may not go with the decision of alliance partner Nitish Kumar on the issue of Kovind as NDA's Presidential nominee but everything will depend on what decision the Congress party takes on the issue. Mr Azad said Congress has invited opposition leaders on 22nd of this month to discuss future strategy after BJP announced name of presidential nominee. The Congress party declined to remark on the declaration however communicated disappointment over NDA's assignment of the Presidential applicant without talking about with restriction parties.

A few minutes later, Amit Shah addressed the press conference to announce Kovind's name. "The opposition will meet on June 22 - only then we can announce our decision", she said. Political analysts are keeping fingers crossed on whether choosing a Dalit President will really resurrect the image of BJP and government after allegedly its lack of response to the suicide of Hyderabad scholar Rohith Vemula or attacks on Dalits by cow vigilantes.

He said he congratulated Kovind on his nomination. Kovind had also been BJP Scheduled Caste Morcha chief from 1998 to 2002 and President of the All-India Koli Samaj.

But a section of the opposition, including the Left, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and BJP ally Shiv Sena, have accused the BJP of politicising the nation's highest office. It was believed that the Opposition will have to field a Dalit face as a counter to ensure that they stay united. "I will appeal to them, I will meet them and take their blessings", Kovind told the media on his arrival from Patna. We had a long list, which was discussed in the Parliamentary Board. Although Kumar did say that he couldn't say anything right now as it was too early, he did mention that it was a "matter of happiness" for him, personally.

Telangana Chief Minister and TRS Chief Rao also extended his support to NDA's presidential candidate after speaking to Prime Minister Modi.

Monday named the eastern state of Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as its choice for the country's next President. "He has worked as per the Constitution and upheld the dignity of the Governor's post", the Chief Minister said after congratulating Mr Kovind in person.

Party national General Secretary K C Tyagi, agreeing with Kumar, said that he was also comfortable with Kovind's name but at this point he would not reveal whether he would support his nomination or not.

"His name did not come during our discussion". Shah has basically stolen a leaf out of Sonia Gandhi's play book when she pulled Pratibha Patil out of her hat as the first woman president.



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