Biju Janata Dal backs NDA Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind

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Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind, who was named as NDA's Presidential candidate, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence on Monday evening.

While all NDA allies have been informed of the BJP choice, Indian prime minister Modi talked to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders about the NDA choice, the BJP president said.

Further giving her opinion over Presidential Elections, Mayawati stated that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should have selected a name from a non-political background which would have been better. The BJP's efforts for a consensus were nothing but a "PR exercise", said party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. "He may be qualified for the job or post, but as Mamata di said we don't know much about the gentleman and his caliber or charisma so where is the question of extending support?".

However, Prasad refused to budge from his position and told Kumar that Kovind's Dalit origins must not cloud the fact that he represents the philosophy of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and is not a neutral person who will protect the Constitutional scheme of things, the Janata Dal (United) leader said.

If elected, which appears to be a certainty, the 71-year-old former lawyer would be only the second Dalit to occupy the Rashtrapati Bhawan after K R Narayanan. For the larger part of his political career he was in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and went on to become the president of BJP Dalit Morcha from 1998-2002. He sought the support of BJD in this regard.

Prime Minister Modi also spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswamy over NDA's presidential candidate pick.

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Samajwadi Party, BSP, and JDU have also hinted that they may support Mr. Ram Nath Kovind for President.

BSP chief Mayawati, a Dalit leader herself, said Kovind can not be opposed unless the opposition fielded a popular Dalit nominee.

Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today expressed happiness over State Governor Ram Nath Kovinds candidature for the Presidents post, but stopped short of committing support to the NDA nominee. He, however, said a detailed discussion would be held on the matter within the JD (U).

However, he said, his party will decide on whether to back the Governor's promotion only after it consults with others on Thursday. The Chief Minister yesterday paid a courtesy visit to Kovind at the Raj Bhawan in Patna. However, early statements coming from Opposition parties indicate that they are in no mood to relinquish their prerogative of putting up a fight.

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.

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