'Are RSS People From Pakistan': BJP Leader To Critics Of President Pick

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The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) said it can not oppose the NDA candidate unless the opposition puts up a popular Dalit candidate while Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar hailed Kovind's role as state governor but remained non-committal on supporting him.

Virtually accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of playing Dalit vote-bank politics, the Shiv Sena June 19 said it would not support Ram Nath Kovind if he had been nominated merely to win Dalit votes.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the BJP members had told them that they would inform the name of the candidate before announcing the name but they failed to do it.

"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", Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said in Patna after meeting Governor Kovind at the Raj Bhawan. "He devoted his life to public service & worked for poor & marginalised", he said in another tweet.

"With his illustrious background in the legal arena, Kovind's knowledge and understanding of the Constitution will benefit the nation".

An advocate by profession, Kovind was made the governor of Bihar two years ago after the NDA took power in the centre in May 2014.

With the BJP having decided the same day on Bihar governor Ramnath Kovind's candidature for presidential elections, Mr Shah called Uddhav requesting the Sena's support.

The BJP's parliamentary board meeting, which was attended by Modi, picked the one-time Supreme Court lawyer after it went through a "long list" of names, Shah said, declining to reveal the other contenders.

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"We will meet on 22nd June, and only then we can announce our decision", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said she is not satisfied with Ram Nath Kovind's political ideology, but can not reject his Dalit background.

TMC's Chief National Spokesperson Derek O'Brian also took a jab at the NDA and mocked Kovind's virtually unknown status.

He has also headed groups that work to improve the conditions of Dalits, previously known as untouchables, who lie at the bottom of India's deeply entrenched social hierarchy.

As to whether the JD-U will back his candidature, Nitish Kumar said: "It is hard to say at this point of time".

Venkaiah Naidu informed BJP veterans Advani and Joshi about the decision.

"I will meet leaders of major political parties and seek their support", Kovind said.

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