Odisha's ruling BJD keeps Prez polls card close to chest

BJD Chief Naveen Patnaik has already confirmed the support for BJP, the regional parties down south TRS, AIADMK (both fractions) and YSR Congress have pledged their support for the NDA Nominee.

He said the Office of the President of India is above political considerations and BJD wants to keep it above politics. For example, when Kovind, belonging to the caste of shoe makers and dealers in hide, was sent as the Governor of Bihar, no party in Bihar could raise objections.

Earlier June 19 afternoon, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said BJP President Amit Shah called Thackeray only after announcing Kovind as its candidate for the July 17 election, indicating that the party was not taken into confidence beforehand.

While all these issues will be thrashed out over the next few days, the BJP's choice and the manner in which it strung along its opponents by going through the motions of consulting them has led to a lot of churning in the Opposition camp.

Kovind's name was a surprise to even those within the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) who wanted somebody with a Hindutva image. All the parties in the opposition are likely to meet on June 22.

"On the BJP fielding a Dalit candidate, Azad 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 Bhavan after K R Narayanan. They said that they wanted to build a consensus.

Discussing whether Nitish Kumar would attend the June 22 meeting, Azad said he had himself called the Bihar chief minister who had assured him that there would be somebody from his Janata Dal-United.

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Speaking to reporters, BJP president Amit Shah said: "Ram Nath Kovind comes from a Dalit family and has struggled a lot".

CPI national secretary D Raja- "Now, they have named a person with RSS background".

The president is voted in by an electoral college comprised of federal and state lawmakers, and the ruling ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is thought to have the support it needs to push its candidate through. "If we have to field a Dalit, then what is wrong with supporting Kovind", remarked a senior Congress leader.

She said that Kovind was declared NDA's presidential choice just because he was a Dalit. "An intellectual with high values belonging to the Dalit community is very apt in all respects for the president's post", N Chandrababu Naidu, chief of the TDP, told PM Modi. "Somebody of Sushma's (Sushma Swaraj) or Advani's (BJP veteran LK Advani) stature should have been chosen".

By choosing Kovind, the BJP intends to expand its Dalit support base in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

However, the opposition may put a candidate in a contest to challenge, but that may yield no result.

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

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